Immortal Animals

If they can, could we?

Resources

AnAge – Database of Animal Ageing and Longevity – Human Ageing Genomic Resources (HAGR)
Curated database of ageing and life history in animals, including extensive longevity records.

Animals and plants that can live forever – BBC Earth
Stem cells seem to be the key in Hydra’s lack of cellular ageing

Latest News

Is Immortality Possible? It is for some animals – LEAF Science – 7-Nov-2017
Some animals are in a state of negligible senescence.
They see no decline of strength, mobility or senses, and no age-related increase in mortality.
They are still vulnerable to predation, accidents, starvation, environmental dangers.
Hydra appears to have no lifespan limit as it regenerates very quickly.
SENS Research Foundation is pursuing Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence.

Owls hold secret to ageless ears – BBC News – 20-Sep-2017
Birds are protected from age-related hearing loss. These are able to naturally repair damage to the inner ear.
Humans lost these regenerative abilities at some point in evolution.
Understanding more about the “ageless ears” of barn owls could help develop new treatments for human hearing problems.

Sea worms may live to over 1000 years old – New Scientist – 20-Jul-2017
Tube worm Escarpia laminata live between 1000 and 3300 metres below sea level.
Their environment has a year-round abundance of food and no predators.
Can measure more than 1.5 metres, and feed via symbiotic bacteria.
They don’t produce countable “growth rings” so scientiest rely on a growth model.
Worms studied estimate at 250 to 300 years and could be others over 1000 years old in nature.
Hard to put an upper limit on their age, because they grow more slowly as they get older.

400-year-old sharks could hold the secret to long life – Inews – 5-Jul-2017
Greenland sharks are the longest living vertebrate on the planet.
Arctic University of Norway have sequenced the whole nuclear genome of almost 100 sharks.
DNA obtained from tiny clippings from sharks which are caught on a line and released.

Naked mole rat can survive with hardly any oxygen – New Scientist – 20-Apr-2017
Long-lived for its size and rarely gets cancer.
Oxygen level of 5 per cent (compared to 20% in air) kills mice within 15 minutes but naked mole rats just carry on as normal.
When oxygen drops too low they release fructose into their bloodstream , and the sugar is taken up by heart and brain cells to keep critical systems running.
COMMENT: I wonder if this is related to the extreme longevity?

Aging not inevitable for sea urchins – MDI Biological Laboratory – 24-May-2016
Sea urchins can quickly regrow damaged spines and feet.
MDI Biological Laboratory studying sea urchins to better understand the aging process in humans.
New study hints that physical decline that typically accompanies aging is not inevitable.
Some live to extraordinary old ages with no signs of poor health and no increase in age-related mortality (unlike humans where it doubles every 8 years).
Regenerative capacity doesn’t decline even in species with shorter life expectancy.
Senescence may not be tied to a short life expectancy in the wild.

Naked Mole Rats Do Get Cancer – Longevity Reporter – 10-Feb-2016
Naked mole rats can live up to 30 years, making them the longest living rodents.
2 cases found – adenocarcinoma and gastric neuroendocrine carcinoma.
Still very rare.

American Ants That Never Get Old – Smithsonian – 21-Jan-2016
Pheidole dentata don’t show any signs of aging.
Their brains appear just as sharp and they are just as active.
Worker ants typically live for around 140 days.
May suffer a steep decline just before dying.
So not immortal but most people would like a healthspan that is very close to their lifespan like these ants.

Meet the animal that may live forever – Times of India – 26-Dec-2015
Tiny hydra – a centimetre-long polyp that inhabits fresh water all over the world – does not show any sign of deteriorating with age.
Could live in ideal conditions without showing any sign of senescence.
Also showed constant fertility over time.
But in wild they are exposed to the normal dangers – predation, contamination, diseases.
Most of the hydra’s body is made of stem cells with very few fully differentiated cells.

Could jellyfish help find a formula for immortality? – RYOT – 4-Oct-2015
Turritopsis nutricula jellyfish studied.
When under threat their cells begin a process called transdifferentiation in which certain cells mutate into other types of cells, e.g. muscle cells becoming eggs or sperms.
New cell types could arise either through a differentiation of uncommitted stem cells or by cellular trandifferentiation of differentiated medusa cells.

The Immortal Jellyfish – American Museum of Natural History – 04-May-2015
Turritopsis dohrnii grows to adulthood in a matter of weeks but can transform back into a polyp using transdifferentiation.

Lack of senescence in hydra – Newser – 2-Feb-15