Chad Love: Thoughts on Immortal Jellyfish
Here’s a little Friday weirdness from the “Annals of the Undead” file. It seems the oceans of the world are...
Here’s a little Friday weirdness from the “Annals of the Undead” file. It seems the oceans of the world are filling up not only with BP crude, but a jellyfish that can live forever. It is quite literally, immortal. No B.S…
From this story on Yahoo:
The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may be the only animal in the world to have truly discovered the fountain of youth. 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.
So if we could somehow monkey around with nature through DNA splicing and other bioengineering alchemy, think of the possibilities! It’d be the end of stocking as we know it! Bass and trout grow up, get caught and released over and over again, then when they grow old they simply transdifferentiate back into a young, healthy fish ready to be caught again It’s brilliant! What could possibly go wrong?