The creature with the key to immortality?

Oct 12, 2015

Science Photo Library


Sea anemones are a common sight on many coastlines, and despite their brightly coloured appearance it seems they may have more common with humans than people realise. What’s more, researchers are wondering whether the creatures could hold the secret to eternal life, writes Mary Colwell.

The wicked queen in the tale of Snow White is famous for her rhetorical question: “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” But her dream of eternal youth is an elusive one – as the years roll by the human body slowly but surely shrinks, sags and droops as cells mutate and die. Hearing, mobility, mental agility, muscle and brain mass all decline.

The queen is on a trajectory common to most living organisms, apart, that is, from a humble, often overlooked creature of the seashore – the sea anemone.

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