MAY 04, 2016 7:06 AM PDT

The Immortal Jellyfish?


While no creature can live forever, the jellyfish does have a certain ability to not only stop the aging process, but to actually reverse it. Jellyfish are a form of plankton, and do not move themselves around, but rather drift with ocean currents. It can't outrun predators, and it's a food source for hundreds of ocean species. Add to that other environmental stressors like disease or bacteria and it would seem to be the kind of organism that doesn't live very long. Actually, it's a little bit the opposite of that.

A jellyfish will actually throw its cellular life cycle into reverse when faced with a threat. The tentacles will drop off, it will shrink in size and once again attach itself to something in the environment, as it did when it matured and reached the polyp stage of cell development. From here, once the threat is gone, the cells begin to replicate themselves and it once again goes forward in developing. This back and forth cellular process, much like rewinding and replaying something on television could continue indefinitely, in theory, but usually does not. The process is called transdifferentiation where cells at a mature level actually change what type of cells they are, in the case of the jellyfish reverting to younger cells as they were earlier in the life cycle.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
MAR 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 16, 2020
These Crabs Decorate Themselves to Avoid Being Eaten
The animal world is chock-full of critters that do seemingly odd or unusual things. The decorator crab is one such examp ...
APR 02, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 02, 2020
Diagnosing Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (APD), a mental disorder, is sometimes referred to as sociopathy. Persons with the disor ...
APR 11, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 11, 2020
Predecessors Of Periodontitis
Gingivitis is a mild periodontal disease that causes inflammation, irritation, redness, and swelling of the gingiva. Thi ...
APR 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 28, 2020
NASA's Swift Telescope Measured the Water Loss of This Interstellar Comet
When the interstellar comet 2l/Borisov made its first appearance in our solar system, astronomers were quick to turn the ...
MAY 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 03, 2020
Some Snakes Only Use Venomous Bites as a Last Resort
Snakes have a bad rap with people because so many species are known to bite when disturbed. An even smaller subset of sn ...
MAY 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 19, 2020
The Science Behind Eclipses
A particularly convenient coincidence exists between the relative sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and their distance from ...
Loading Comments...