This Weird Parasite Is The Only Known Animal That Can Survive Without Oxygen

Henneguya salminicola, a tadpole-like parasite that infects salmon, has a rather unique superpower Рit can survive without oxygen.

When examining Henneguya salminicola, researchers noticed something really strange: the microscopic parasite appeared to have no mitochondrial genome. The mitochondria, commonly known as “the powerhouses of the cell”, are organelles that rely on oxygen in order to produce energy. At first, scientists at Tel Aviv University thought it was a mistake, so they ran the analysis again, and confirmed that the parasite had no mitochondrial genome at all, meaning it did not generate energy the way all other known animals do. Although other single-cell organisms, like amoebas and fungi, have also developed the ability to survive in anaerobic environments, no animals – Henneguya salminicola¬†qualifies as one despite having less than 10 cells – had been known to do that until now.

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