The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra is a remarkable creature. It does not show any signs of ageing and appears to be immortal. Researchers from Kiel University have examined this phenomenon and uncovered an important link to the ageing process in humans that could lead to the development of advanced rejuvenation therapies.
How does the polyp Hydra do this? It accomplishes the feat of apparent immorality by reproducing through budding rather than mating. Each polyp contains stem cells capable of continuous proliferation. Without this endless supply of regenerating stem cells, the animals could not reproduce.