The Parasite That Doesn’t Breath

Sean Pollock, Reporter

On February 24, scientists found the first multi-cellular animal to function without the use of a mitochondria.

The mitochondria in cells is deemed the “powerhouse of the cell.” This is due to its ability to process oxygen and glucose, and make ATP, the cell’s form of energy.

These newly discovered creatures, that lack a mitochondria, are called . The Henneguya salminicola are a species of parasite that are known to live off of fish like the salmon.

While, there have been known single-cell life forms without mitochondria, this is the first multi-cellular species to have been discovered without the need to use oxygen.

Quoting from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of the America, “Our discovery shows that aerobic respiration, one of the most important metabolic pathways, is not ubiquitous among animals.”