All science known to mankind stands debunked as a non-breathing living animal is discovered by researchers. By Bayar Jain
According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) have discovered a non-breathing living animal. Moreover, as with all major scientific discoveries, this breakthrough was also a happy accident.
While sequencing the Henneguya genome, the scientists were on the lookout for a Mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell. These mitochondria are responsible for capturing oxygen to facilitate aerobic respiration among living organisms. However, during this experiment, scientists discovered that the Henneguya genome, in fact, lacks any mitochondria at all, in turn implying its oxygen-less survival. This tiny harmless parasite, called the Henneguya salminicola, lives within the muscle tissue of salmon. It’s not clear how the parasite survives without oxygen, but Dorothée Huchon, a zoologist at Israel’s Tel Aviv University – who led the study – said it might be taking energy from the fish.
She also said that this discovery not only changes the way scientists have always looked at the animal kingdom, but also expands the details that define an animal. She added that it has confirmed one thing that aerobic respiration which is considered a major source of energy, is not ubiquitous in animals, and that evolution can head to weird directions.
Even though some single-celled organisms like fungi and amoebas have lost their breathing abilities, largely as a consequence of their evolutionary progress, this is the first recorded instant of an animal showing the same trait.
However, as with every great scientific discovery, this paves the way for further breakthroughs. Although a lot about this peculiar creature is not known yet, it already has us hooked!