Scientists discover first known living being that does not breathe
The discovery of such a parasite may have implications on extra-terrestrial life, as well as altering our knowledge of life on Earth
A universal truth is that multicellular life needs oxygen to survive. However, this concept is about to change as scientists have discovered a living being that does not need oxygen to live.
A team of researchers discovered such a jellyfish-like parasite, but without a mitochondrial genome. This parasite is the first multicellular organism known for the absence of this genome – meaning that it does not breathe. In fact, it lives its life independent of oxygen, reports peer-reviewed scientific research work publisher Science Alert.
The discovery of such a parasite may have implications on extra-terrestrial life, as well as altering our knowledge of life on Earth.
But how this parasite survives without inhaling oxygen is still a mystery.
Over many years, these parasites have devolved from a free-living jellyfish ancestor into the much simpler parasite that exists today.
Although having lost most of the original jellyfish genome, but they have managed to retain an odd but complex structure that resembles jellyfish stinging cells. But the cells are not used to sting, rather is used to cling to their hosts.
"Our discovery confirms that adaptation to an anaerobic environment is not unique to single-celled eukaryotes, but has also evolved in a multicellular, parasitic animal," the researchers wrote in their paper.
"Hence, H salminicola provides an opportunity for understanding the evolutionary transition from an aerobic to an exclusive anaerobic metabolism."