Feb. 28, 2020

An international team of researchers has found Henneguya salminicola, a multicellular animal with no mitochondrial DNA, making it the only known animal to exist without the need to breathe oxygen.


  • One of the common characteristics of all multicellular animals on Earth is mitochondrial respiration—the process by which oxygen is used to generate adenosine triphosphate—the fuel used to power cellular processes. The process takes place in mitochondria.

  • But now, there is a known exception: Henneguya salminicola.

 H. Salminicola:

  • salminicola, member of the group Myxozoa, is a microscopic parasite that infects salmon.

  • In their work, the researchers sequenced the DNA of H. salminicola tissue and found no mitochondrial DNA at all. The researchers suggest they likely steal energy from their host using some type of proteins.