Published September 12, 2013
Scientists say they may have found the key to eternal life in an unexpected creature – lobsters.
Research shows the crustaceans possess an enzyme called telomerase, which makes them ‘biologically immortal.’ Growing older doesn’t raise their chance of death, The Sun reported.
In other living creatures, strands of DNA get shorter as cells replicate and die, and they eventually become too badly damaged to copy new cells.
But in lobsters, telomerase prevents DNA strands from shortening, allowing perfect cells to replicate again and again, according to biologist Simon Watts, founder of ReadySteadyScience.com.
The average lobster weighs under 2 pounds, but near the coast of Maine in 2009, fishermen caught a lobster that weighed 19 pounds, meaning the creature was approximately 140 years old.
Medical experts hope further studies about telomerase will help discover new ways to increase lifespan and prevent cancer.