Scientists Create Creature That Doesn’t Need to Breathe

"Can we stop breathing to keep our brains working?"
Deep Breath

A team of scientists discovered a way to keep tadpoles breathing after removing their ability to breath.

The Scientist reports that researchers from Ludwig Maximilians University injected photosynthetic alga into the tadpoles. This created a symbiotic relationship among amphibians and microbes that kept them alive, even without any oxygen. This is a strange experiment that may have medical benefits in keeping people alive after a stroke. However, it's also fascinating in biological experimentation.

Artificial Symbiosis

To test their hybrid, researchers made sure to starve the tadpoles completely of oxygen in order to make their brains stop functioning. After that, the researchers shined a flashlight onto the tank to activate the algae, causing it produce oxygen. According to Wednesday's research in the journal iScience, the tadpoles' brains were activated again after this, indicating that algae were successfully maintaining their host, according to the journal.

Ryan Kerney, a Gettysburg College biologist, said that he didn't contribute to this new study. He explained to The Scientist that scientists, including himself, have been trying artificial symbiotic relationships to algae for around ten years with the goal to change or improve animal physiology.



He said that there are many unknowns and a troubling absence of regulations in the niche field. There are also risks associated with harmful algal blooms.

Kerney said that the implications could be just as fascinating to consider. Is it possible to stop breathing in order to keep our brains working?

READ MORE: Scientists Use Photosynthetic to Power Animals Brains [The Scientist]

More oxygen: All Earth's Creatures Could Asphyxiate from a Lack of Oxygen in the Distant Future



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