Flatworms Could Hold Key To Immortality

flat-worm_2152792bIs this the most advanced creature on Earth? Via the Telegraph:

British researchers believe that the worms, which live in ponds and lakes, could live forever after examining their ability to repeatedly regenerate.

“Our data satisfy one of the predictions about what it would take for an animal to be potentially immortal,” Aziz Aboobaker, who led the research. “The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal.”

Flatworms, known as planarian worms, have long fascinated scientists because they have an extraordinary ability to regenerate. A planarian worm split lengthways or crossways will regenerate into two separate living worms. The researchers found that flatworms can continuously maintain the length of a crucial part of their DNA, known as telomeres, during regeneration.

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  • Anarchy Pony

    And immortality is a good idea in what universe?

    • DeepCough

       All immortality means is “the quality of not being dead.” Eternal life is an entirely different matter.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Seems kind of like semantics to me.

        • DeepCough

          Reminds me of a Greek myth: a man asks for eternal life from the Gods, but he forgets to ask for eternal youth, so he continues to deteriorate to the point where he is nothing but a cricket. So, yeah, be careful what you wish for and such.

          • RobinHoode

            You would not live very long if you don’t stay healthy as you age. In fact, the main cause of death in late years of life is not “age” but “age-related illnesses”. So, in fact, living indefinitely almost _requires_ eternal youth to be possible.

    • Jin The Ninja

      well it depends, are we getting powers on par with a magical girl or a messianic reality alterning demi-god? because it makes a difference.

    • RobinHoode

      If you want to die, that’s fine by me. But personally, I think humans should be allowed to live forever, if they choose to, and their lives don’t interfere with the happiness of others.

      • Jin The Ninja

        the constant drain of resources might interfere with the other 7 billion immortals need for the same thing.

        • RobinHoode

          People have been saying that for years. The fact is, however, that we are far from efficient with our resources in the 1st world, and far from efficient in our production. 

          Furthermore, the birth rate will probably fall dramatically if people live longer.

          • Jin The Ninja

            I completely agree that we’re “far from efficient” in the western world, in fact i’d posit we’re thieves of 3rd world resources (neo imperialism), so how exactly would that change in context to those same first worlders achieving immortality?

          • Andrew

            Only allow third worlders to become immortal.

          • Jin The Ninja

            whatever happened to the idea of consciousness “immortality” (i.e. downloading consciousness into a machine) or something less physical?

          • Eric_D_Read

            What good is living forever if you can’t fuck?

            That sounds more like an eternal prison than a life.

          • Jin The Ninja

            I am thinking more in terms of transcendant reality, rather than physical desire.

          • JaceD

            Sounds like an Iain M. Banks novel

          • Jin The Ninja

            i thoroughly enjoyed the culture series.

          • JaceD

            Probably one of the greatest Sci Fi novelists ever. My favourite at any rate

          • Jin The Ninja

            which is your favourite book?

          • Xxurpimpdaddyxx

            I have to agree with ERIC_D_READ… if we don live in our physical bodies, therefore we cant eat, fuck, sleep, or do any of the things we enjoy as humans, whats the point?

          • Jin The Ninja

            If you’ve lived already an entire lifetime as a physical body, i can think of interesting things to explore as a non physical being.

          • JaceD

            It’s a long time dead… I’m sure you’ll be willing to give up anything to continue existing in some form as you feel your life force fade.

      • axisofinfinity

        those that can’t accept death will be the greediest of people and stop at nothing to further their happiness. stepping on anyone else’s in the process.

        • JaceD

          And your opinion is based on….

          Nothing?

  • DeepCough

    I dunno. I can’t imagine what fresh Hell would come from this research.

  • Schizo the DJ

    While the regenerative aspects are worth researching, trying to potentially create immortal animals OR people doesn’t seem like a good idea. =/

    • RobinHoode

      Well, there are serious reasons to think we could not be “immortal”, based on our incomplete understanding of the universe. But what argument do you have against living indefinitely?

      • Andrew

        No death = no room for children = no evolution.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Plus it is very likely to lead to existential boredom. 

          • RONIN

            Said he who has never experienced eternal life.

          • RobinHoode

            If you’re bored with the idea of living forever, your life’s TODO list must be very short. Mine can fill probably 20 full lives.

          • Anarchy Pony

            God this thread is full of pie in the sky ignorance.

          • RobinHoode

            Enlighten us Anarchy Pony..

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Evolution is still possible if the necessary step of legalized murder takes place. The mechanisms are just altered.

            Edit: despite this, this is all hypothetical, the concept of eternally living humans/humanlike entities, is absolute nonsense.

          • Guest

            as a matter of fact, i think that immortal living iiiiissss a form of evolution… think about it.. plus, with this level of evolution, what more could you want?!?!

        • Hadrian999

          how much further do you have to evolve past immortal?

          • Andrew

             Ask some Posidonia oceanic.

        • RobinHoode

          I don’t understand how no death means no children. Some people will still die, like in car accidents. Almost every generation in developed countries has had higher and higher standard of living. I don’t see that slowing down any time soon. We have an abundance of living essentials in many parts of the world, except for things like fossil fuels, which we’ll dispose of at some point in the next 100 years. 

          As far as your evolution comment: Evolution is a slow process anyways, compared to the rate of human technology.

      • Redacted

        You how hard it is to resist burning shit as is? I couldn’t imagine resisting forever.

        • RobinHoode

          Resist burning shit? Like eating at Taco Bell?

          Just stop eating there. Problem solved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515133098 Aida Akopyan

    funny video of the worms regenerating after being sliced and diced.

    http://youtu.be/vXN_5SPBPtM

  • Hadrian999

    hurry up before i get old

    • Eric_D_Read

      Seriously.

    • RobinHoode

      Well, there’s always cryogenics.. It costs an arm & a leg, but probably worth it.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        lol

  • MeatBag

    Living forever, OK. Living forever here, no thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kurt-Webb/53801531 Kurt Webb

    If you have really bad Karma, you reincarnate as this bastard.

  • Ken_A1

    Anybody else a fan of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing?

  • Micah Dylan

    we could have sword fights all day