The “Immortal” Hydra
Eternal life. For humans, it’s a fantasy pulled from science fiction, but for the Hydra (Hydra vulgaris), a small freshwater invertebrate, it’s a reality. These organisms, which look like miniature, fleshy palm trees with swaying fronds of tentacles, boast stem cells that exist in a continuous state of renewal and seem to hold within their genomic code the key to biological immortality. Every 20 days, the whole organism renews itself.
Hydra are virtually immortal in a lab environment. Their unique abilities make them ideal for studies in healing and aging. Hydra regeneration was noted in 1744 by naturalist Abraham Trembley. Almost three centuries later, this animal’s amazing capabilities remain a mystery. Juliano hopes to solve some of those lingering questions and further establish the Hydra as a model organism for regenerative research.
Source: University of California, Davis, College of Biological Sciences, Model Organism: Hydra (Hydra vulgaris)
Dr Carrie Medej on Stew Peters Show
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