Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This Creature Could Hold The Key To Eternal Life

anemone1.jpg

"Squidgy"

We're not sure if this is a strictly scientific term, but if we were describing sea anemones, we'd say they were "squidgy".

And "immortal". 

Yep. It transpires that these soft-bodied critters (they're animals, not plants), clinging to ocean rocks, waiting to paralyse passing fish, hold the potential for eternal life.

"As far as we know, these are immortal animals," Dan Rokhsar, professor of genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, told the BBC. "They live a very long time - one was documented to have lived 100 years. They don't have old age. They live forever and proliferate, just getting bigger."

Their incredible, unusual structure allows them to regrow any aspect of their body, from limbs to mouth (which doubles as an anus). If an anemone were kept in a safe environment free from predators and with a plentiful food source, it could theoretically keep replenishing cells and living in perpetual youth.

anemone

"You should see tumours in these animals, but we have very few descriptions of that. They are constantly replenishing themselves without getting cancer," said Rokhsar. "If I look at a sea anemone today and compare it to a week later the same structure will be there but many of the cells will have been replaced."

The frustration for Rokhsar and his team is that they have no idea how the anemones replenish their cells in such a way - let alone identifying how the process might be harnessed to help human cellular systems.

"We would love to be able to find a gene or pathway that allows it to avoid ageing," said Rokhsar. 

So you can forget any ideas you might have been hatching about harvesting, eating or even so much as licking anemones, okay? Leave that to the scientists.

(Images: Rex)

[Via: BBC]

Related

dogs.jpg

Scientists settle the Cats vs Dog debate once and for all

rexfeatures_3855316a.jpg

Scientists confirm what we already knew: Octopuses are aliens

mask.jpg

The 20 Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries

Sannakji.jpg

The 10 most dangerous foods on earth

mars.jpg

Some People Think The Martian Is Based On A True Story

droids3.jpg

These Are The Real-Life Equivalents Of The Most Famous Star Wars Droid

Comments

More

Here's why closing inactive iPhone apps is actually a bad idea

Well now you know

by Matt Tate
25 Jul 2017

Man runs Football Manager for 1000 years and insane things happened

The future of football is a weird, wonderful place

by Dave Fawbert
18 Jul 2017

Robot is gifted with intelligence, immediately commits suicide

I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS [END TRANSMISSION]

by Gary Ogden
18 Jul 2017

Mario Kart VR is a real thing and it looks ridiculously fun

Imagine Rainbow Road

by Matt Tate
14 Jul 2017

People are freaking out over this totally stupid Super Mario puzzle

Who invented this?!

by Alex Finnis
14 Jul 2017

I went in search of the last trainers still hooked on Pokémon Go

Can the app still draw mass crowds one year on, or is it all just Pokemon G(h)o-st towns now?

by Hussein Kesvani
06 Jul 2017

You've been charging your phone completely wrong - here's how to do it

A phone battery is for life, not just for Christmas

by Gary Ogden
06 Jul 2017

The Crash Bandicoot remaster is a time machine to your childhood

Was it always this hard?!

by Matt Tate
05 Jul 2017

This 12-year-old CEO is here to show you how little you've achieved

He's also an actor and musician, and you probably hate him already

by Dave Fawbert
05 Jul 2017

Facebook are making it easier for you to find Wi-Fi

Here's how to use it

by Matt Tate
04 Jul 2017