The secret to immortal life could be one step closers, thanks to a group of scientists.
A team from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Oviedo in Spain have been studying one of the only creatures on the planet that comes close to being classed as “immortal”.
The Immortal Jellyfish, better known as the Turritopsis Dohrnii, has the ability to switch from adult life back to larval stages at will.
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And while not strictly unkillable – as disease or being eaten can destroy it – it retains the ability to reverse ageing and actually live for as long as it wants to.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is called Comparative Genomics Of Mortal and Immortal Cnidarians Unveils Novel Keys Behind Rejuvenation.
To summerise the very long report, scientists took the Immortal Jellyfish and compared it an almost exact jellyfish cousin.
They sequenced the genomes and managed to isolate the exact part of the DNA the age-defying jellyfish – also known as a metazoan – uses to turn itself back into a very young version of itself.
“Turritopsis dohrnii is the only metazoan able to rejuvenate repeatedly after its medusae reproduce, hinting at biological immortality and challenging our understanding of ageing.
“We have identified variants and expansions of genes associated with replication, DNA repair, telomere maintenance, redox environment, stem cell population, and intercellular communication.
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“Moreover, we have found silencing of polycomb repressive complex 2 targets and activation of pluripotency targets during LCR, which points to these transcription factors as pluripotency inducers in T. dohrnii.”
Basically, for those who don't have degrees – or masters degrees – in biological science, they have successfully found the DNA part that makes it essentially age backwards, found what parts if affects, and are now studying it further.
They also managed to find parts of the DNA similar to humans, which means it could – one day many decades from now – possibly be used to reverse ageing in humans, or help to cure many diseases that we currently can not.
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