The basic theory that all organisms need oxygen to live might turn out to be false, according to a new study. A jellyfish-like parasite has been discovered, and it seems that it is the first multicellular organism that doesn’t have a mitochondrial genome. So, it lives its life without oxygen. This recent finding changes the concept of what an animal can be and can have connections on the hunt for alien life. The tiny parasite survived in salmon tissue and grew so that it doesn’t need oxygen to develop stamina. It means that sometimes less is more.
Species of Jellyfish That Don’t Need Oxygen
This parasite is a cnidarian, which is part of the same species, such as the jellyfish, corals, and anemones. They live inside the salmon and takes ready-produced nutrients instead of consuming oxygen. They’re not harmful to us even if they develop awkward cysts in the salmon’s flesh. The parasites also survive hypoxic environments inside its host, which confused researchers. One of the co-authors of the study detailed that when thinking about animals, we imagine a multicellular organism that needs oxygen to survive. But, the newly found parasite shows otherwise.
The team of researchers utilized deep sequencing and fluorescence microscopy in examining the jellyfish-parasite, identified as H. salminicola. They discovered that it lost its mitochondrial genome, it’s the ability for respiration, and that they have created folds in the inner membrane not usually observed. Although they wasted most of their first jellyfish genome, they also kept an awkward advanced structure that looks jellyfish stinging cells to stick to their hosts – some eyes-alike structures.
The research could support fisheries adjust their methods in rearing salmon to deal with the parasite as no one desires to get a salmon riddled with strange little jellyfish no matter how harmless they can be.