Immortality and… Jellyfish?

I bet you didn’t think anything could live forever? Well you’d be wrong… theoretically.

The Turritopsis Nutricula is a species of Jellyfish. It’s a tiny jellyfish; about 1/5 inch wide, has a transparent body and has about 80 or so tentacles…
However, this particular Jellyfish has the astonishing ability to revert back to its polyp stage once it becomes sexually mature.
The Polyp stage of a jellyfish after the fertilized eggs have left the mother and fallen to the ocean floor, where they attach to a rock and start growing into what looks like a sea anemone. These polyps eventually form buds that break away into tiny jellyfish which then fertilize eggs and the process begins again…

So how does it change back you ask?

Their cells have developed a specific process of transdifferentiation.
Transdifferentiation, in biology, means that a non-stem cell can transform into a different type of cell, or when an already differentiated stem cell can create cells outside its already established differentiation path.
The Medusa (umbrella-shaped body) of the jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony.

Well, how does it do that?

The Medusa reverts and the tentacles and mesoglea (the translucent, jelly-like substance that makes up most of the bodies of jellyfish) get gradually broken down into their component materials. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the rock (or other hard surface) by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony.
This process could potentially go on forever.


The Immortal Jellyfish.