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Israeli-led Research Team Discovers Animal that Survives without Oxygen
Henneguya salminicola in salmon. (Michal Maňas/Creative Commons)

Israeli-led Research Team Discovers Animal that Survives without Oxygen

An Israeli-lead team of researchers has identified a member of the animal kingdom that does not breathe oxygen to survive. Scientists at Tel Aviv University (TAU) discovered that Henneguya salminicola, a 10-celled parasite that exists inside the muscles of salmon that lacks the biological components that all other known animals use to process the atmosphere’s second most abundant element after nitrogen. The researchers found that the parasite’s genome did not include the DNA sequences that produce mitochondria, which, according to a TAU statement, “are the powerhouse of the cell where oxygen is captured to make energy, so its absence indicated that the animal was not breathing oxygen.” Given that evolution has generated biological systems and symbiotic methods for non-animal, non-oxygen-breathing organisms – such as fungi and amoebas, for example – to manufacture cellular fuel, the scientists postulate that H. salminicola gradually developed a way to subsist by drawing energy from surrounding fish cells.

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

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