New research has found that a species of “immortal” jellyfish may hold the key to understanding how to aging works in humans and how to deal with age-related problems.
Scientists have found that the Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) is capable of reversing its growth process and revert to an earlier form before starting to grow again.
This ability means the jellyfish never dies from old age since it can revert to an early stage before starting its life over again. It seems to be able to do this at will in response to harsh conditions or after being injured.
Investigating this ability, scientists found that the jellyfish has double the number of genes associated with DNA repair in its genome. It also had some unusual mutations that protect chromosomes’ protective caps, or “telomers,” from deteriorating, a key part of the aging process.
This ability was known but not understood up to now, according to director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and jellyfish expert Monty Graham, who was not involved in the individual research:
“We’ve known about this species being able to do a little evolutionary trickery for maybe 15-20 years. We can’t look at it as, hey, we’re going to harvest these jellyfish and turn it into a skin cream. It’s one of those papers that I do think will open up a door to a new line of study that’s worth pursuing.”
You can find the original study here.