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Since it is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span. Scientists say the hydrozoan jellyfish is the only known animal that can repeatedly turn back the hands of time and revert to its polyp state (its first stage of life).
The key lies in a process called transdifferentiation, where one type of cell is transformed into another type of cell. Some animals can undergo limited transdifferentiation and regenerate organs, such as salamanders, which can regrow limbs. Turritopsi nutricula, on the other hand, can regenerate its entire body over and over again. Researchers are studying the jellyfish to discover how it is able to reverse its aging process.
Because they are able to bypass death, the number of individuals is spiking. They're now found in oceans around the globe rather than just in their native Caribbean waters. "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion," says Dr. Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute.
Originally posted by Pressthebutton
Perhaps we could harness its incredible ability, but at the same time, would that be wise?
Originally posted by PressthebuttonPerhaps we could harness its incredible ability, but at the same time, would that be wise?
edit on 4-12-2011 by Pressthebutton because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by LightSpeedDriver
reply to post by Zaphod
I think you'll find that for most people right now in the western world, life-span will not be increasing due to the contaminants in our food, water and medicine. Just my 2 cents. My Grandmother died aged 90, my Dad was barely 65. I personally do not expect to live as long as my father but I could be wrong.