Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Turritopsis dohrnii known was the Scarlet Jellyfish is one of a kind and unique. It is the only animal able to restart its life cycle. This is a capability human desire to have but aren’t able to achieve. This species of jellyfish was discovered in the 1880’s in the Mediterranean Sea. The life cycle of the Scarlet Jellyfish starts as a planula, a larva, that settles on the seafloor. There it forms a cylindrical colony of polyps. The polyps grow to adulthood in a week or a little more. Fully grown polyps are around the size of a pinky nail and transparent, and it also has a red center. When it reaches adulthood the jellyfish should have around 90 tentacles. Its diet consists of plankton, tiny molluscs, larva, and fish. Even though Scarlet Jellyfish have been nicknamed the immortal jellyfish, they can still be killed or eaten. The one confusing part about these jellyfish is how they can restart their life, this will be broken down and explained throughout the paper.
The Scarlet Jellyfish’s life cycle is no different than any other jellyfish’s life cycle. They go through planula stage, then attached planula, polyp, ephyra(immature jellyfish), and adult jellyfish. But the strange and amazing thing about the immortal jellyfish is that it can return to its polyp stage if needed. So if the adult jellyfish has gotten injured or starving it can decide to morph back into its polyp form. This is a feat that has been amazing sciencetist everywhere who want to also be able to do that with cells to help replace cells that have been harmed by diseases.
To turn back into a polyp the jellyfish goes through transdifferentiation. The definition of this is “the transformation of cells other than stem cells into different cell types.” It could be like tissue or organ cells turn into other tissue or organ cells. This techniques of reusing cells where they are most needed would be amazing to help replace cells that have been damaged by diseases. If we can figure out how the jellyfish does it and replicate with humans it could help save a lot of lives.
The process of going back to the polyp stage from the medusa stage is vague, and not much data has been found about how it happens. When they transform back into the polyp stage their tentacles react, their bodies condense, and they sink to the ocean floor to start their life cycle over again. The jellyfish transforms its existing cells, except the stem cells, into a younger state. When jellyfish have done this in the lab scientist have figured out that the scarlet jellyfish have the capability to do this over and over again. But they don’t do this process for any reason only for emergencies. There are still many mysteries to figure out about how they do this and what triggers them to do it. Is it natural or do they think about? We may not find out for a while.
Being able to transition back to a younger form might be starting to affect the oceans. While other animals would dies after being injured or becoming old the scarlet jellyfish doesn’t. Now we are seeing them starting to invade the world’s oceans slowly. Because of its small size and how its predators are still eating them, it isn’t making much of a difference with the notice of their population starting to spread to other oceans.
The Scarlet Jellyfish is an amazing part of nature that shows how little mankind knows about this vast universe. Right now don’t know how these jellyfish are about get their cells to become younger or how they turn back into polyps. But we know we could apply that characteristic to the medical world. Replacing cells damaged by diseases. The capability of rejuvenation may seem appealing to humans at first, but if fully thought out not everyone can be alive at the same time. There isn’t enough room on the earth for that. Even after trying to figure out how they can transform into polyps there still isn’t any footage of them doing it in the wild. The only footage is from labs.