Scientists find key to immortality for asexual worms

British scientists have found that a species of flatworm can overcome the process of ageing to become potentially immortal, Reuters reported.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Monday the researchers found that the flatworms, known as planarian worms, can continuously maintain the length of a crucial part of their DNA, known as telomeres, during regeneration.

Their work sheds light on possibilities of alleviating ageing and age-related characteristics in human cells, the report said.

"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 at Britain's University of Nottingham, was quoted as saying.

"The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal."