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Hydra -- mysteriously immortal
The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra does not show any signs of aging and is potentially immortal. There is a rather simple biological explanation for this: these animals exclusively reproduce by budding rather than by mating. A prerequisite for such vegetative-only reproduction is that each polyp contains stem cells capable of continuous proliferation. Without these stem cells, the animals could not reproduce any more. Due to its immortality, Hydra has been the subject of many studies regarding aging processes for several years.
Human longevity gene discovered in Hydra
"Surprisingly, our search for the gene that causes Hydra to be immortal led us to the so-called FoxO gene," says Anna-Marei Böhm, PhD student and first author of the study. The FoxO gene exists in all animals and humans and has been known for years. However, until now it was not known why human stem cells become fewer and inactive with increasing age, which biochemical mechanisms are involved and if FoxO played a role in aging. In order to find the gene, the research group isolated Hydra's stem cells and then screened all of their genes.
Originally posted by Druscilla
reply to post by pheonix358
And yet, the ultra-elite still seem to age before our eyes, and eventually have funerals.
It's nice to believe in something based off of what you 'learn' watching science fiction movies, but, in real life, biology and biological tinkering is ever so much more complicated than you might imagine.
So what if the genome has been mapped?
That's like saying you've successfully found every single word in The Bible. It's nice to have the words, but, now, let's put them in the right order, into sentences, and paragraphs, chapters, and books.
We might have the words, but, often enough, we still can't even read the words, much less know what part of any given random sentence they're suppose to go in, or if the word is even in the proper syntax, and spelled correctly.
Something as simple as manipulating the gene for blue eyes, or brown eyes could very well make you born with your brain outside of your skull, or with flippers, or no head at all.
Often enough, any one change effects 2, 3, 4, 5, or dozens of other things, and to actually make those bown eyes blue, you might need tweak 5 different things totally unrelated to eye color, so that the gene toggles to blue eyes.
genetic manipulation of humans is a big no-no, at least in First World scientific community.
I suppose we'll have to wait for Little Kimmy over in N. Korea to press the immortality button, or for someone else similar with sufficiently ambivalent moral constraints to break the rules.
I thought it was allowed to clone human tissues and Frankenstein to heart's content up to a certain point?
Gilgamish, I will reveal thee a hidden matter . . . I'll tell thee:
There is a plant like a thorn with its root (?) [deep down in the ocean],
Like unto those of the briar (in sooth) its prickles will scratch [thee],
270.(Yet) if thy hand reach this plant, [thou’lt surely find life (everlasting)] ."