IMMORTAL JELLYFISH — request from elocinbored
Turritopsis nutricula, the potentially immortal jellyfish, is a hydrozoan whose jellyfish form can revert back to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity.
It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation.
Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish “alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell”. In this process the mature jellyfish transforms back into the polyps stage creating a new polyp colony. Theoretically, this process can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal, although in nature, most Turritopsis, like other medusae, are likely to succumb to predation or disease in the plankton stage, without reverting to the polyp form.
No single specimen has been observed for any extended period, so it is not currently possible to estimate the age of an individual, and so even if this species has the potential for immortality, there is no laboratory evidence of many generations surviving from any individual.