Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jellyfish and biological immortality?

Turritopsis nutricula is a small (5 mm or 0.2 in) species of jellyfish which uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. It originates from the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. end quote from wikipedia

However, just because a species of jellyfish have a relationship with biological potential immortality doesn't mean that weather and other conditions in the oceans where they live won't eventually kill them. It only means that possibly in an ideal environment like a salt water laboratory that such and organism might live indefinitely.

My thought was wondering whether genetic engineering of using some the genetics of this species of jellyfish if inserted into the genes of another type of organism would cause the next organism to have potential biological immortality as well?

next quote from wikipedia regarding biological immortality:
Biological immortality is the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. A cell or organism that does not age, or which at some point in its life will cease to age, is one which is deemed to be biologically immortal. However, this definition of immortality has been challenged in the new "Handbook of the Biology of Aging",[1] because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages (late-life mortality plateau). But even though the rate of mortality ceases to increase in old age, those rates are very high[2] (e.g., 50% chance of surviving another year at 110 or 115 years of age).
No actual organism or individual cell is inviolably immortal (i.e. "invincible" or "indestructible"). Any real living object enjoying biological immortality would still be able to die, for example, upon receiving sufficient injury or otherwise having its body destroyed or diseased. end quote from Wikipedia.

Begin quote regarding hydras from wikipedia:
Hydras are a genus of simple, fresh-water animals possessing radial symmetry and no post-mitotic cells. The fact that all cells continually divide allows defects and toxins to be "diluted-away". It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence (aging), and as such are biologically immortal[5]. However, this does not explain how hydras are consequently able to maintain telomere lengths.
end all quotes from wikipedia.

I guess this means possibly if the genetic characteristics of Hydras were added to the characteristics of another organism that organism might not age either.

I have long considered how potentially useful having a few humans who did not age past adulthood so that they could continue their researches into how to keep the human race going no matter what kinds of problems we could potentially run into. In this way there might be hundreds or thousands of researchers who could live on for hundreds and hundreds of years to continue their research uninterrupted and thereby come up with answers for all of us to either become potentially biologically immortal or to find ways for the human race to survive any problems we faced or both.

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