The Immortal Jellyfish
As humans, many instinctively want to search and understand the process of death, and for many, how to beat that inevitable fate. Studying jellyfish, and their unusual life cycles, could be the key to understanding and beating death in human beings.
The species of jellyfish, the turritopsis dohrnill, is known as the immortal jellyfish. This jellyfish has the ability to revert back to a sexually immature, colonial state after having reached sexual maturity. This essentially means the jellyfish can grow up, and then start all over again. Now, there are plenty of other ways that this jellyfish could die, through disease or being killed. However, unlike other creatures, this jellyfish does not just naturally die.
The ability to tap into this process could unlock the potential for other creatures, such as humans to become essentially immortal. Researchers have found that this jellyfish has the ability to rewind, rather than simply switch the controls of their genetic transformation. This is the key to their never-ending life. Nobel prize winner Shinya Yamanaka has been conducting research on the ability to inject proteins into stem cells and imitate this process of reversing, or rewinding, the cells ability to grow. Through this research, scientists were able to grow nerve cells, blood cells, and heart muscle cells.
This research has promising applications, but is still a long way from giving humans the ability to have an immortal life. Regardless, the research along the way will have amazing application in other respects. There is no doubt that continued research into the jellyfish will help uncover and assist this research.