Rodent can live without oxygen
CUTTING off oxygen for most creatures will result in near-instant death.
But scientists have found that the naked mole-rat can survive for 18 minutes with no oxygen, and five hours at levels low enough to be fatal to humans in minutes.
The rodent, pictured, can breathe without using its lungs by creating oxygen from fructose sugar within its body. Understanding the trick could lead to new treatments for heart attacks and strokes.
The fur-free native to East Africa is thought to have adapted to do without oxygen because it lives in crowded, airless underground burrows. Lead scientist Professor Thomas Park, from the University of Illinois, said: ‘It has rearranged some building-blocks of metabolism to make it super-tolerant to low-oxygen conditions.’
His research, co-authored by Berlinbased Professor Gary Lewin, is published in the journal Science.