Starting Over

The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may be the the world's only immortal animal. Since it is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span.
The key lies in a process called transdifferentiation, where one type of cell is transformed into another type of cell. Some animals can undergo limited transdifferentiation and regenerate organs, such as salamanders, which can regrow limbs. Turritopsi nutricula, however, can actually regenerate its entire body over and over again.
Researchers are studying the creature to discover how it is able to reverse its aging process.
Because they are able to bypass death, the number of individuals is spiking. They're now found in oceans around the globe rather than just in their native Caribbean waters. "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion," says Dr. Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute.

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