There are more than 8.7 million species on our planet. Each species has its own life span, and the length of life span is different. The life span of animals is affected by diseases, predators, bad weather and habitat destruction. Therefore, the mortality of animals living in natural conditions is very high, and few of them live to their highest age safely.
We human beings also attach great importance to the length of life. From ancient times to the present, everyone is eager to be full of youth forever, but no one can live forever. But scientists have discovered the world’s only rejuvenated creature, the lighthouse jellyfish, and are exploring the possibility of transplanting its genes into humans to keep them young. But can this technology really be realized?
Lighthouse jellyfish: the only known creature that can return to old age
Lighthouse jellyfish is actually a very small jellyfish with a diameter of only 4 to 5 mm. The whole body is transparent. You can see that there is a clearly visible red substance inside, which is actually their stomach. Lighthouse life mostly lives in tropical waters. Although they are small, they can be carnivores that prey on plankton, crustaceans, polychaetes and small fish. Because they are often involved in the ballast tanks of ocean going ships, and eventually spread to all parts of the world with the ships sailing thousands of miles.
At present, lighthouse jellyfish is the only known creature that can return to larval stage after sexual maturity, which is also called rejuvenation. This ability allows it to reverse growth back to the juvenile after adulthood. Because of this ability, lighthouse jellyfish are called immortality, but it is not rigorous to say immortality. Because it can only change from adult to juvenile, and finally split into new individuals, which is not immortality.
The rejuvenation process of Lighthouse jellyfish
Lighthouse jellyfish, like other jellyfish, are divided into male and female, and reproduce through fertilization. Under normal circumstances, they will grow old and die in the traditional way. But when they suffer from hunger, physical damage or other sudden crisis, they will reverse their body cells to the young state, so as to achieve rejuvenation, which shows that the mechanism of “reverse growth” is limited.
The lighthouse jellyfish will transform itself into a water drop like capsule when it is affected by the above external factors, and then this capsule will continue to develop into the original life form of jellyfish, a hydra group. In the process, the cells in its whole body will transform. Through asexual reproduction, the colony will grow again into hundreds of jellyfish that are almost identical to the DNA of the previous adult lighthouse jellyfish. Note that this lighthouse jellyfish is not reborn, but is splitting itself into hundreds of separate individuals.
Transfer of Jellyfish Gene to human
Inspired by the “inverse growth” of Lighthouse jellyfish, scientists have wondered whether its related genes can be identified and transplanted to humans, so that humans can also achieve inverse growth. Of course, the reason why scientists associate like this is that human beings have already had successful precedents.
For example, scientists have successfully transferred seaweed cold resistance genes to tomatoes, so that we can eat off-season tomatoes. That’s why scientists boldly put forward the idea of transplanting genes related to lighthouse jellyfish into humans.
But transplanting lighthouse jellyfish’s reverse growth genes into humans is not as easy as breeding off-season tomatoes. There are still many problems, such as when is the best time to transplant? Human embryo or adult? After gene transplantation, the ideal state of human beings began to reverse growth, human intelligence, psychology and EQ will be affected?
What’s more, if you want to transplant, how old should you set before you can transplant? This series of problems need to be solved from the beginning of animal experiments to the day when volunteers are born. It’s really a long process.
When we think about it, it may not be a good thing for human beings to have reverse growth technology, which may cause social chaos and some ethical problems. But the hope is still there. Maybe one day, human beings can really master the reverse growth technology. By that time, human beings will be young forever!
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