The Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrni) is a species of small, biologically immortal jellyfish found in temperate and tropical waters.
It is a favorite of divers because it is a fascinating creature to watch and learn about.
The Immortal Jellyfish is an unusual example of a polyp because of its ability to reverse its life cycle. The jellyfish can convert from a medusa to a polyp and go back and forth between the two.
They have a unique life cycle reversal mechanism known as transdifferentiation, which enables them to switch back and forth between two distinct life phases.
The life cycle of a hydrozoan begins with the medusae. These are then fertilized and develop into a new colony of hydroids.
Turritopsis dohrnii is one of the few known species that ages backward. This means it skips a few life cycle stages, returns to an earlier stage, and then begins the cycle again.
The Immortal Jellyfish has made headlines and has been featured in various media, including television shows and the McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology.
Its discovery was first documented in 1883, and its ontogeny was reversed. Since then, studies have demonstrated that this phenomenon occurs in other cnidarian species.
The Immortal Jellyfish, or T. dohrnii, can regenerate into polyps when its tentacles are damaged. This allows it to thwart the passage of time. It also has more genes than its cousin T. rubra, which makes it an ideal candidate for genetic research.
Immortal Jellyfish have an incredible ability to regenerate themselves. These unique organisms can revert to their juvenile state over again.
Scientists hope studying this jellyfish species could help them understand the secrets of longevity and even offer clues to human aging.
Turritopsis dohrnii is the only species of immortal jellyfish known to date.
The telomerase enzyme replaces repetitive sequences on chromosome ends lost during successive cell divisions.
Telomerase activity is closely linked with cellular immortality. The lack of telomerase activity is a key contributor to cellular senescence.
Telomerase activity is activated in more than 85 percent of malignant tumors, whereas it is repressed in normal somatic tissues.
Intestinal metaplasia and cancer show the highest telomerase activity, followed by normal mucosa.
The PRC2 protein regulates telomerase activity in Immortal Jellyfish.
However, not all PRC2 components are overexpressed in T. dohrnii, and the regulation of PRC2 may occur on the protein level.
The overexpressed genes were associated with DNA replication and repair, as well as with oxidative stress resistance.
Telomeres are short sequences that indicate age. Telomerase activity in Immortal Jellyfish can be reset by regulating DNA replication.
This activity is restricted to cells with high proliferation potential and stem cell derivatives. Because some fish grow and develop throughout their lives, telomerase must be present in all cells.
Telomere length is an indicator of longevity, and a stable telomere length is considered an essential cellular mechanism.
The high resistance to genotoxic insults may also be responsible for the long life span in this species.
Immortal Jellyfish regeneration is the process by which cells from an adult jellyfish grow back into a new medusa.
Scientists have found that changes in the jellyfish’s genes cause the process. The researchers believe this process could provide insights into diseases caused by aging.
The regeneration process is also similar to that of other animals. When a jellyfish is injured, it regenerates new cells by going through a process known as transdifferentiation.
This process allows the jellyfish to produce a new body from the cells that have been removed. Similarly, scientists studying stem cells have been able to regenerate human tissue using this same process.
Immortal Jellyfish regeneration is not the only way to stop aging in jellyfish. One method is to mutilate the medusa using fine metal picks.
The process causes the medusa to lay on its side, pucker, and twitch. The process can be repeated fifty times until the jellyfish stops moving.
The regeneration process is possible because the jellyfish can regenerate to its former polyp state after sexual reproduction.
The regeneration process is a complex process that takes time to complete. Jellyfish reproduction in a laboratory environment requires constant attention and repetitive labor.
The jellyfish will only regenerate under certain conditions.
Earlier this year, biologists published a paper in PNAS detailing the genetic identity of a species of “immortal jellyfish.”
The researchers analyzed the DNA of T. dohrnii and compared it too closely related species, looking at genes involved in DNA repair and aging.
They also performed a transcriptome analysis. As a result, they discovered evidence of Turritopsis plasticity, which may contribute to the immortal phenotype of this species.
The recent advances in genome sequencing and transcriptome sequencing have made it possible to study the genetic identity of this fascinating species.
This information will help researchers determine the exact regeneration mechanisms in these creatures. As a result, this research will open a new horizon for studying regeneration in aquatic animals.
Future research must identify molecular markers that distinguish the various cell types within these species.
These markers may also lead to genetic lineage tracing methods. This knowledge is essential in identifying the origins of immortal jellyfish and finding their evolutionary history.
That way, we can further understand the origin of these amazing creatures.
Kubota and his team spend most of their time in the water collecting samples and conducting analyses.
While the medusas live in the ocean, Kubota carries them in his portable cooler when he travels to other countries.
When he travels to Kyoto for administrative meetings, he also brings back the medusas like she does when traveling home.
The life cycle of immortal jellyfish begins with the formation of the larval stage. The larva, called a planula, swims to a solid surface where it develops a digestive system.
It then grows into a polyp, a tube-shaped structure with a mouth at one end and a foot at the other. It remains in place for a few weeks and then develops into a fully-grown adult.
After that, the polyp reproduces sexually with another jellyfish, a medusa.
To better understand the rejuvenation process, scientists have studied the genetic code of jellyfish.
They were able to identify genes that were active during different phases of the life cycle. This gave researchers a glimpse into the delicate orchestration of the rejuvenation process.
They even drove a specially outfitted camper van to the Italian coast to gather wild jellyfish.
The study authors say these findings could help scientists develop regenerative medicines for human patients suffering from aging-related diseases.
However, they caution that the results should be confirmed by further research. The researchers also noted that adult medusae are not the same as polyps and that more studies are needed to understand their exact life cycle.
Immortal jellyfish are thought to have originated in the Caribbean and have spread to temperate and tropical oceans.
During this time, the creatures have been discovered to be able to turn back to the polyp stage as many times as they want.
Their ability to reproduce has made them highly desirable for researchers. The species is also a popular target for various predators.