(Natural News) Goldfish fill their bodies with alcohol to survive for days (even months) in oxygen-free frozen water. Evolutionary physiologists say that they have now discovered the mechanism in which the fish — and their wild relatives, the crucian carp — are able to live in an environment where most vertebrate animals would die within minutes.
Typically, in an anaerobic environment, animals overproduce the compound lactic acid. The lactic acid is meant to be utilized for energy production. However, when there is a persistent oxygen deprivation, an organism can die from lactic acidosis.
Goldfish are able to convert the lactic acid into ethanol. The alcohol by-product then diffuses across the fish’s gills into the surrounding water. While the fish remains rather sedentary during this time, the animal is not encumbered by a dangerous buildup of lactic acid in the body. Scientists say that the fish could be “a little tipsy” at this time, which may explain why the fish prefer to remain as immobile as possible in their tiny space.
The results of this study were published in Scientific Reports.
The molecular mechanism involved in this intriguing processing can be found in a protein set produced by the muscles of the goldfish. Strikingly, goldfish and crucian carp carry two sets of a specific protein. While one is normally seen in other species, the second set is only activated by the absence of oxygen. It is a mutation found in the species which biologists say is the evolutionary response of…Read More