Over 2,000 species of jellyfish have been identified by scientists over the decades, coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. However, there is one jelly fish specie which scientists found incredibly fascinating. The tiny Turritopsis dohrnii, or otherwise known as the Immortal Jellyfish. Even though this specie is smaller than a human fingernail, its well known for its endless lifecycle.
As revealed by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists recently made a magnificent discovery as they uncovered the jelly's gene which could hold keys to immortal life.
A jellyfish’s life begins as a small egg which grows into a larva. The larva then lodges itself on a rock and grows into finger-like polyps which eventually detach into jellyfish known as a medusa. Where the immortal jellyfish differ, is that this species can morph back into a polyp and can later once again turn into a jellyfish. This cycle can continue indefinitely.
However, the question is still why this jellyfish is able to recycle itself? Scientists have recently announced that the jelly has double the number of genes as other closely related jellies for repair and protection. “While ageing affects most living organisms, the hydrozoan Turritopsis dohrnii is the only species able to rejuvenate repeatedly after sexual reproduction, becoming biologically immortal. We have identified variants and expansions of genes associated with replication, DNA repair, telomere maintenance, redox environment, stem cell population, and intercellular communication.”The jelly's telomeres, which is a sequence of DNA at the end of a chromosome, do not become shorter over time. Typically, as cells divide, the telomeres become shorter. There are several ways these magnificent species could offer insight to ageing and maybe even immortality. Scientists hope future discoveries will shed light on techniques which might stave off ageing and its symptoms, such as degenerative diseases.