The Turritopsis Dohrnii: An Immortal Jellyfish That Can Cheat Death

The Turritopsis Dohrnii: An Immortal Jellyfish That Can Cheat Death

All of us are aware of the fact that we will die one day, and nobody is immortal. But surprisingly, it is possible to live forever for a creature called “Turritopsis Dohrnii”. Turritopsis Dohrnii is a species of jellyfish that is also known as “Immortal Jellyfish”. 

Can you believe it? Let’s find out how this jellyfish makes it possible.

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Turritopsis Dohrnii- a small Jellyfish

The Turritopsis Dohrnii: An Immortal Jellyfish That Can Cheat Death

The Turritopsis Dohrnii is a small jellyfish that measures only 4 to 5 mm in diameter. It is as tall as its width. This jellyfish has a relatively large stomach that is bright red in color. When you look at the stomach in the cross-section, it looks like it has a cross shape.  

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Turritopsis Dohrnii inhabits the depth of the oceans throughout the world. However, it is believed that Turritopsis originated in the Pacific Ocean, but it has spread all over the world through trans-Arctic migrations. 

Due to its transparent appearance, it is not easily visible to the human eye, making it even more mysterious. 

Turritopsis Dohrnii’s Life Cycle

The Turritopsis Dohrnii: An Immortal Jellyfish That Can Cheat Death

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The life cycle of Turritopsis Dohrnii starts from eggs and sperms (in the larval form) that are released to be fertilized. The larval establishes itself when it finds a suitable surface and develops into a “polyp”, resembling a tiny sea anemone. From this polyp, birds are formed, which grow into mature Jellyfish. 

An adult or mature Jellyfish is known as a “Medusa”. When Medusa is physically damaged or faces adversity such as starvation, it shrinks on itself, reabsorbing its tentacles and losing the ability to swim. 

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You might be thinking that this is the stage before its death but to your surprise, it is the stage prior to its rebirth.  

After reabsorbing itself, Turritopsis Dohrnii settles on the seafloor as a blob-like cyst. Over the next one and a half days, this blob-like cyst develops into a new polyp -which means a new life. 

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Immortality in Jellyfish 

The Turritopsis Dohrnii: An Immortal Jellyfish That Can Cheat Death

The key factor of the Turritopsis Dohrnii’s immortality is “trans differentiation”. Trans differentiation is its unique and incredible ability to transform adult cells into young ones. Let’s understand it this way; when a jellyfish faces stress, injury, or old age, then instead of dying, it reverts its cells back to an earlier stage of development. It transforms itself into an immature one, giving it the chance to start its life cycle all over again. Therefore, we can say that Turritopsis Dohrnii is immortal and can cheat death.

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Though Turritopsis Dohrnii’s ability to cheat death is awe-inspiring, its immortality is not absolute. It is still susceptible to predation, disease, and environmental changes that could end its life prematurely. 

The Turritopsis Dohrnii’s incredible abilities have also attracted the attention of many scientists and researchers worldwide. They hope to figure out the secrets of its transdifferentiation process that can help in developing regenerative medicines. 

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