© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Hydra present an interesting deviation from typical life histories: they have an extensive capacity to regenerate and self-renew and seem to defy the aging process. Hydra have the ability to decouple the aging process from their life history and therefore provide us with a unique opportunity to gain insight into the aging process not only for basal hydrozoans but also for other species across the tree of life. We argue that under steady feeding and asexual reproduction Hydra species are able to escape aging as a result of high levels of cell proliferation and regenerative ability. We further highlight cellular processes for stem cell maintenance, such as the telomere dynamic, which prevent the accumulation of damage and protect against diseases and pathogens that mediate this condition. In addition, we discuss the causes of aging in other Hydra species.