British scientists believe they may have identified how humans could potentially live forever – and it’s all about flatworms:Experts at Nottingham University have been examining how two species of flatworms are able to regenerate themselves again and again – raising hopes that scientists could find ways of alleviating the effects of ageing in human cells.Flatworms, known as planarian worms, have long fascinated scientists with their apparently limitless ability to regenerate.
During the study 20,000 new and fully-formed flatworms were created from just one original worm by splitting it into tiny pieces.The research team studied how the flatworms manage to replace aged or damaged tissues and cells in a bid to understand what drives their longevity.Dr Aziz Aboobaker, who led the study, said: “We’ve been studying two types of planarian worms; those that reproduce sexually, like us, and those that reproduce asexually, simply dividing in two.
“Both appear to regenerate indefinitely by growing new muscles, skin, guts and even entire brains over and over again.In a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, British scientists found that planarian worms, also known as flatworms, have the ability to preserve key parts of their DNA when regenerating that offer the potential for immortality, Reuters reports.
“Our data satisfy one of the predictions about what it would take for an animal to be potentially immortal,” said Aziz Aboobaker, who led the research, according to Reuters.
Scientists at Britain’s University of Nottingham were able to generate more than 20,000 flatworms from a single one that they had cut up into several pieces. Each piece they cut grew into its own new independent living worm, the Telegraph reports.British scientists studied sexual and asexual flatworms, and both were able to reproduce muscles, skin, and brains indefinitely when they were cut into pieces, but the asexual worms proved to have the potential to be immortal, Aboobaker said, according to Reuters.
Scientists hope to use the findings to build “strong foundations for improving health and potentially longevity in other organisms, including humans,” Aboobaker said in a statement, according to Reuters.”The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal.”
Human Immortality:Why Flatworms May Hold The Secret