A new discovery was made by researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) of an animal that doesn’t breathe. They discovered what the believe to be the first “non-oxygen breathing animal”. they released a press note on Tuesday about it. The researchers said that aerobic respiration was thought to be ubiquitous in animals. But it is now confirmed that “this is not the case.”
An animal that doesn’t breathe?
The discovery was made by an accident, and it was found out by a team led by Dorothee Huchon, a zoologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
According to the lead Zoologist at Tel Aviv University Huchon, Henneguya Salminicola is a parasite with less than ten cells is found in salmon muscle
. During a study, the research team found that when the parasite evolves, “the animal, which is a myxozoan relative of jellyfish and corals, gave up breathing and consuming oxygen to produce energy.
she continued explaining the importance of this discovery saying ” Our discovery shows that evolution can go in strange directions. Aerobic respiration is a major source of energy, and yet we found an animal that gave up this critical pathway,”
Normally, bacteria and protozoans can survive without oxygen as they get their energy from fermentation or use other molecules like mercury or iron.
Before Huchon’s discovery, it was assumed that all animals are breathing oxygen because they’re multicellular and they use the oxygen to form energy. the mitochondrion which is the powerhouse of the cell captures the oxygen and uses it to form energy, but In the case of Henneguya Salminicola, the researchers at TAU discovered that the mitochondria were absent
“While assembling the Henneguya genome, Professor Huchon found that it [the animal] did not include a mitochondrial genome,” the note read.
How the Henneguya Salminicola makes energy is still unclear but it was assumed by the researchers that the animal is drawing it from the surrounding fish cells, or maybe it has it may have a different type of respiration such as oxygen-free breathing. In the concluding section of the note, the professor at TAU said the discovery bears an enormous significance for future evolutionary research.
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