Turritopsis, blessed with immortality

Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 10:47 [IST]
 
Turritopsis, blessed with immortality

London, Jan 27: Every living organism has death. This is what we have believed all these years. But in what can be called as the first case of immortality in a living organism, scientists have recognized Turritopsis nutriculaas as the only known animal that is capable of rejuvenating itself.

According to a report in the Times, jellyfish usually die after propagating, but Turritopsis reverts to a sexually immature stage after reaching adulthood and is capable of rejuvenating itself. The 4-5mm diameter creature, technically known as a hydrozoan, is the only known animal that is capable of reverting to its juvenile polyp state.

Theoretically, this cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal. Found in warm tropical waters, Turritopsis is believed to be spreading across the world as ships' ballast water is discharged in ports.

Though solitary, they are predatory creatures and evolve asexually from a polyp stage. The switching of cell roles is usually seen only when parts of an organ regenerate. However, it appears to occur normally in the life cycle of the Turritopsis.

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ANI


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