A group of scientists at the Oregon State University’s Department of Microbiology has discovered an animal that does not need oxygen to breathe. This is changing the definition of what an animal is.
This animal is a parasite called Henneguya salminicola, which lives inside the tissue of salmon.
He says that when we imagine creatures, we imagine multicellular creatures who need oxygen to breathe. But his team has discovered the first creature that does not need to breathe, this means that the world has at least one creature which doesn’t require oxygen.
The parasite does not have breathing in its genetic code. Instead of using oxygen, it steals ready-made nutrients from its host, the salmon. Researchers found out that it doesn’t harm the salmon, and humans are not infected.
Mitochondria produce energy in most species by using oxygen. But this creature adapted to the low oxygen environment which it lives in, by dropping the mitochondrial genome entirely.