A team of scientists at the Tel Aviv University in Israel have found life-form that can survive without oxygen. The team led by Dayana Yahalomi took a closer look at the DNA of the jellyfish-like parasite in salmon called Henneguya salminicola.
The researchers found that the parasite has lost its mitochondria genome.
Animal cells require mitochondria to process oxygen into adenosine triphosphate or ATP and that keeps our cells running. Since the parasite does not have the genome to build it, it lacks mitochondria.
The parasite has developed mitochondria-like organs like unicellular organisms for respiration.
Some lower single-celled organisms or eukaryotes are able to respire without oxygen with a process known as anaerobic respiration. But no previous case of higher organisms like animals and plants doing the same had been found.
The researchers wrote, "Our discovery confirms that adaptation to an anaerobic environment is not unique to single-celled Eukaryotes, but has also evolved in a multi-cellular, parasitic animal."
These parasites are a devolved descendant of a jellyfish and have lost most similarities to it expect a structure resembling the stings in the jellyfish. This structure is not used to sting but to hook on to the host.
The exact details on how it survives in such low oxygen conditions are unknown. The parasite is not harmful to the fish nor humans.