The Age-Defying Jellyfish: Turritopsis nutricula

This jellyfish has evolved a rather nifty trick, after producing offspring instead of dying it simply turns into another little offspring itself. Though it’s been trumpeted elsewhere on the web as the immortal jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula is in fact age-defying rather than immortal. If it is eaten or starves it will still die. But defying age is still quite the accomplishment – imagine if your grandparents could turn back into babies and go through life again! Turritopsis nutricula accomplishes this trick by a process called transdifferentiation. This is just a process where one type of cells turn into a different type of cells. Usually this process only happens during organ regeneration, but somehow this jellyfish has figured out how to use it to turn back the clock. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to copy their behavior any time soon! If you’d like to know more about Turritopsis nutricula check out this online textbook.

Photo by robynejay

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