A fountain of youth pill could be on the horizon thanks to a jellyfish-like sea creature.
The bizarre animal regrows its entire body from cells in its mouth – opening the door to an elixir of life.
Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus is small, tube-shaped and lives on the shells of hermit crabs. Its superpowers have implications for healing as well as anti-ageing treatments.
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The powers were discovered after researchers sequenced bits of DNA, called RNA, which are associated with the biological process of ageing – also known as senescence.
Dr Andy Baxenavis, of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, said: “From animals like hydractinia, we can learn about how senescence can be beneficial and expand our understanding of ageing and healing.
“We can start to unravel some of the secrets of regeneration and ageing – secrets that may ultimately advance the field of regenerative medicine and the study of age-related diseases as well.”
It comes after the secret to evolution was apparently unlocked by a 33-year experiment involving yeast.
Boffins are continuing an experiment started in 1988, involving yeast being swirled in water before some is removed and the process repeated, and mutations have started to form.
The yeast started turning into “snowflake years”, which basically means they were forming genetically identical cells in each pot, and the had become multicellular.
Will Ratcliffe, who started the experiment, told the New York Times: “All of the lineages that we know of that evolved multicellularity, they made this step hundreds of millions of years ago, and we don’t have a lot of information about how single cells form groups.”
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