The Animal That Would't Die: Aging Backwards Like a Chicken That Can Grow Back into an Egg Do This Animal's Genes Hold The Secret of Life
Why Is This Important to People ?
Debunking the Most Fundamental Law of the Natural World: The Result Potential Immortality
It sounds like an episode from the old Twilight Zone show, aging backwards. Remember the episode where an elderly couple pay to be turned young again? Imagine for a moment an animal stabbed repeatedly, it curls up into a ball seemingly ready to die. Then slowly something happens and then slowly step by step it recreates itself anew, it has defied death! Fiction? No, apparently it is fact. A jellyfish with a certain rare ability, an ability to defy death, an ability to grow backwards in time. Like a chicken that can grow back into an egg!
What is So Remarkable ?
The NY Times has an article about an amazing animal, an animal whose genes might hold the secret of defying death, maybe of regenerating organs like new hands or new eyes, an animal that seemingly does something impossible. It can grow backwards in time. When physical damage or other crises arise, instead of sure death, Turritopsis( the jelly fish) transforms all of its existing cells into a younger state.
What was the Research Being Conducted?
"Sommer was conducting research on hydrozoans, small invertebrates that, depending on their stage in the life cycle, resemble either a jellyfish or a soft coral."Sommer kept his hydrozoans in petri dishes and observed their reproduction habits. After several days he noticed that his Turritopsis dohrnii was behaving in a very peculiar manner, for which he could hypothesize no earthly explanation. Plainly speaking, it refused to die. It appeared to age in reverse, growing younger and younger until it reached its earliest stage of development, at which point it began its life cycle anew".
What Did The Scientists Say About Potential Immortality?
But several biologists in Genoa, fascinated by Sommer’s finding, continued to study the species, and in 1996 they published a paper called “Reversing the Life Cycle.” The scientists described how the species — at any stage of its development — could transform itself back to a polyp, the organism’s earliest stage of life, “thus escaping death and achieving potential immortality.” This finding appeared to debunk the most fundamental law of the natural world — you are born, and then you die".
"Like cancer cells, "some cells of this jellyfish that were supposed to [die] … are able to switch off some genes and to switch on some other genes, reactivating genetic programs that were used in earlier stages of the life cycle."
Watch this Video about Aging in Reverse in Jellyfish.