Immortality in the form of... a Jellyfish?


| 2 Comments
immortal1.jpg
Immortality seems ridiculous unless you're "He-who-must-not-be-named", but this peculiar creature seems to have that ability without splitting apart his soul.

The immortal jellyfish or Turritopsis nutricula lives a typical life of a jellyfish. There is a male and female, and when each of their gametes meet polyps form and eventually produce baby jellyfish which will grow into an adult jellyfish. These polyps differ from the actual jellyfish because they are colonial and remain on the surface of the ocean like little trees.

Now what makes the immortal jellyfish immortal is that the adult jellyfish can revert back to a polyp. That means that an adult jellyfish essentially reverts back to an infant stage and produces a new swarm of jellyfish. 

The reason why this is so amazing is because the jellyfish's cells have to completely transform to those that have different functions and purposes. A jellyfish's life is instantly changed when it comes down to reverting back to a polyp.

The theory behind this is called transdifferentiation which transforms existing cells into new cells. That's like if a skin cell on our body transformed into brain tissue or lung tissue. If that power could be transferred to humans, longevity of human life and health would increase tenfold.

This also reminds me of the question of stem cells, which have a similar property of morphing into a new type of cell. 

Could unlocking the secrets of the immortal jellyfish mean unlocking the potential to human immortality? If so, would it even be a moral subject to continue looking into, as immortality is said to be a cursed life?

At all events, I'm curious if the case of the immortal jellyfish is like Benjamin Button's case who lives the life of transdifferentiation.

2 Comments

This is absolutely insane I had no idea transdifferentiation actually occurred!

As you asked at the end, I honestly don't think trying to apply transdifferentiation to humans is moral or necessary. I don't think there's any possible way that this idea would successfully transition into the modern day scientific, political, or religious world. There would be entirely too much debate and financial issues with trying to figure it out and make it work. I'm certain it would be a process that would never completely be able to meet ends.

Who would they test it on? How would they agree to get people to be tested? If it was successful, how could we live in a world where some people could afford to buy longer lives than others in this sense? It is completely immoral and would mess with the natural flow of life.

It definitely would be immoral, but who's to say that if this technology is harnessed that people won't try to abuse it?

Maybe someday in the future we'll have people who have lived a thousand years but is it really worth to live so long?

Maybe that topic doesn't diverge too well into science, and becomes more of a philosophical debate.

Transdifferentiation really makes me think about stem cell research however because its a similar sort of process, and the idea and ends are essentially the same, prolonging life under critical conditions.

Should stem cell research be continued all the way to longevity of life? Or should it be stopped at some point?

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Alcohol and Energy Drinks
We've all heard of Four Lokos (or "blackout in a can") and the drama surrounding them when they first came…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…

Old Contributions