An Animal That Can Live An Entire Lifetime Without Oxygen


Health Editor’s Note:  There has to be some advantage to being able to live without oxygen, but I do not think humans will be able to do this any time soon…Carol

This Animal Doesn’t Need Oxygen to Survive

Katherine J.Wu/

When it comes time to build an animal, a few crucial ingredients come to mind: carbon-containing molecules, to build a body; water, to slosh nutrients in and waste out; and oxygen, to power each cell’s busy work. Across millennia, from bumblebees to blue whales, this recipe has held true—until now.

For the first time, researchers have identified an animal that gets by without breathing oxygen: a parasite relative of jellyfish that appears to acquire its energy from another, still mysterious, source. Unlike all other known multicellular organisms, this lollipop-shaped creature, called Henneguya salminicola, lacks mitochondria, subcellular structures that turn the vital gas into units of energy that power a dizzying array of essential functions.

“There are plenty [of animals] that can go for extended periods without [oxygen], but nothing [else] that can get through the whole life cycle,” Nick Lane, a biologist at University College London who wasn’t involved in the study, tells Michael Le Page at New Scientist.

To call the finding a surprise would be an understatement…

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  1. Otto H. Warburg, M.D., Ph.D. (1883-1970) was considered the greatest biochemist of the 20th
    Century. He was determined to solve the cancer problem. He invented a special device called the Warburg Manometer to measure oxygen pressure at the cellular level. He used real live tissue, not dead ones in dishes. He began with rats because the cell transformation happens quickly in days compared to decades for humans. When he reduced the oxygen pressure by about 1/3 the cells switched from running on oxygen to running on sugar anerobically or fermentation just like the lowest forms of life before the appearance of oxygen and became cancerous. This was about 1926. It took him about 40 more years to prove these results for human cancer by about 1960. He concluded cancer is caused by oxygen deficiency to living cells over a relatively long period of time, decades. Cancer cells switch to running on glucose primarily in the absence of oxygen or the fermentation of sugar. Without oxygen the cells lose their control system and grow without bound. This is the prime cause of cancer. About the same time Watson and Crick discovered the DNA molecule. Many assumed, without proof, this was the prime cause of cancer. They were wrong. Warburg was right after all. His great discoveries have been ignored and obstructed for about 50 years and counting now.

    • There is a great book on all this “The Hidden Story of Cancer” by Brian Peskin, E.E. and Amid Habib, M.D. Pinnacle Press, Houston, 2010. A few years ago there was a detailed article in the NY Times about the failed war on Cancer by a well known writer. She noted that since about 1970, the beginning of the so called “War on Cancer”, the Cancer Generals have squandered between $100 billion and $1 trillion studying cancer but most doctors can’t even tell you what cancer is, let alone how to cure and prevent it in the body. All approved cancer treatments are life threatening. So if a cancer patient dies while under treatment, they could have died from cancer or treatment or both; usually treatment but falsely reported as from cancer. The only way to prove the cause of death is from an autopsy which is rarely done to protect these doctors from claims. About one person dies every minute either from cancer, treatment or both; this is about a half million per year. The so called “War on Cancer” is the greatest medical failure of our time and the greatest medical scam of our time. This is what happens when human prejudice is substituted for experiments and facts from the laboratory. Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1931. He was nominated for the first cancer prize in 1926 but it was instead given to Fibiger whose work was wrong. He was nominated for a third Nobel Prize for yet different work in 1944 but denied by Hitler’s decree.

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