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

A man has used his fidget spinner to like EVERYBODY on Tinder

Where's the quality control, though?

by Gary Ogden
25 May 2017

This new emoji tool tells you which are still cool and which are lame

Less 💅, more 🍆

by Emily Reynolds
24 May 2017

You can now buy the revamped Nokia 3310 in the UK

The retro phone you know and love is back (kind of)

by Matt Tate
24 May 2017

Nintendo respond to touching thank you letter from a blind fan

"We want to keep making games that everyone can have fun playing"

by Matt Tate
24 May 2017

Secret rules on what Facebook allows you to post have been revealed

And it's a pretty confused state of affairs

by Dave Fawbert
22 May 2017

Stephen Hawking reckons we only have 100 years left on Earth

Anyway, happy Friday!

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Watch a young Mark Zuckerberg discover he's got into Harvard

His dad is a lot more excited than he is

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Nintendo have removed a gesture deemed to be offensive from Mario Kart

Up yours, Yoshi

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

This is rumoured to be the iPhone 8's finished design

Bye bye bezels (maybe)

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

We might be about to get smartphones that charge fully in five minutes

An Israeli start-up claims it's going to go into production next year

by Tom Mendelsohn
15 May 2017