Understanding the origin of life on Earth has been a complex mystery for scientists,media reported. The old assumptions about the conditions required for life are often questioned and, in some cases, completely overturned. Now, researchers have found that oxygen, which is thought to be vital to all life on Earth, is at least not the case for a very unique animal.
The creature, called Henneguya salminicola, is a tiny parasite that lives in fish — especially salmon. Although researchers have previously known that the parasite does not need oxygen to survive, they do not know the reasons behind it.
Now, researchers have found that the creatures are unique: they don’t have mitochondrial genomes or hard-coded genes that support cell breathing. Mitochondria are called “energy houses” of animal cells and use oxygen and glucose to release substances such as carbon dioxide. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Our analysis shows that H. salminicola not only lost the mitochondrial genome, but also almost all of the nuclear genes involved in the transcription and replication of the mitochondrial genome,” the researchers said. Instead, we found many genes that encode other mitochondrial pathway-related proteins and identified genes that are involved in aerobic respiration or mitochondrial DNA replication that either do not exist or simply exist in the form of pseudogenes. “
In short, these tiny creatures don’t have the genes that are usually fed with oxygen, but they still live well. Knowing that these parasites don’t use mitochondria like other animals is an important clue to why these tiny creatures don’t need oxygen, but researchers aren’t sure what they’re using instead of mitochondria or what other biological processes keep them alive.
The discovery of a multicellular animal that can survive without oxygen is not only a great event in scientific research on life on the planet we live on, but also a major event in the study of life in other worlds.