Scientists are studying the ‘Immortal Jellyfish’ to see if immortality may be in the future for mankind.
The Turritopsis Nutricula is a type of jellyfish that scientists have determined to be biologically immortal. The organism, while not immune to disease or injury, will not die from simply aging. The jellyfish can, at any point during it’s life cycle revert to the form of a polyp even after reaching sexual maturity. Essentially, it can live forever since every time it becomes of age, its cells undergo transdifferentiation to become young and sexually immature again. Scientists are now searching to see if the same transdifferentiation could occur within human beings.
Every time a cell replicates within the human body small bits at the ends break off. These areas are called telomeres and they exist to buffer against breakage when DNA replicates. This prevents important information from getting lost during the replicating process. However, eventually the telomeres get broken off too in what is called the Hayflick Limit. However, special enzymes may be able to increase the life of the telomeres which in turn will prolong the life of the cell.
In theory, if cellular aging can be prevented we would be able to extend life. Possibly indefinitely.
This is what scientists are looking into with the “immortal jellyfish”, the possibility of preventing cellular aging and even looking at reversing the process. Human beings however are vastly different creatures and remarkably more complex. The aging process could theoretically be stopped, sort of like the movie In Time where everyone is the age of 25, but it would have to be done around when the person is question has reached sexual maturity or just before reaching sexual maturity.
Would you be interested in living forever if it involved you having to revert to a younger age (for example you’d always go back to be 11 years old)? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.