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Bizzare & Odd

An animal unable to breathe and living without oxygen was found for the first time

Inhalation of oxygen is a fundamental characteristic of multicellular organisms. But there is at least one animal that does not have this ability and does without oxygen.

This amazing discovery is reported by an international team of biologists and geneticists in an article published in PNAS.

The organism in question is called Henneguya salminicola. This is a distant relative of jellyfish, a representative of the class Myxozoa – parasitic invertebrates belonging to the striking. The hosts of H. salminicola can be fish or worms that live underwater.

Spores of H. salminicola under a fluorescence microscope.

Until now, it was believed that all plants and animals use oxygen to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is a universal source of energy for all biochemical processes taking place in living systems. ATP generation from oxygen occurs in structures called mitochondria.

Each mitochondria has its own tiny genome in addition to the main one – in the cell nucleus. But when the researchers performed a genomic analysis of H. salminicola, they did not find mitochondrial DNA.

At first, the scientists decided that they had made some kind of mistake. However, further tests using a fluorescent dye that selectively binds to DNA confirmed the data.

The authors explain: although representatives of H. salminicola have organelles similar to mitochondria, they lack the genes responsible for respiration. In the body of the parasite, enzymes necessary for the production of ATP from oxygen are not produced.

Thus, H. salminicola is the first known multicellular one that can do without oxygen throughout its entire life cycle.

It remains unknown why the parasites lost their ability to breathe oxygen, but their immediate family did not. Probably, having reduced their genome, H. salminicola gained an important advantage: they thrive, reproducing as quickly and as often as possible, the authors of the research wrote.

In addition, it is unclear how this multicellular receives the necessary energy. Most likely, H. salminicola steals it from the host, the researchers suggest. Other similar parasites have proteins that help import ATP directly from infected animals. In the future, scientists intend to find out whether H. salminicola uses the same strategy.

We add that H. salminicola is harmless to humans, but it is a serious problem for fish farming, since it also parasitizes on commercial fish, for example, salmonids. Perhaps the new data will help experts understand how to protect fish from these strange parasites.

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Bizzare & Odd

The predictions of the Black Mirror series that came true

“Black Mirror” is one of the most popular and gloomy series of our time. The plots of the series show us a possible scenario in the near future.

The creators of the series wanted to show us all the negative aspects of the introduction of various ultramodern technologies in the ordinary life of people. Well, they did it well. The bold predictions of the series disappointingly come true, and we can only hope that they will not lead to the same consequences as on the screen.

Season 1, Episode 3 – Contact Lenses with a Camera

The heroes of the series, perhaps, never complain about their memory – if they want to remember something, they find records for a specific day or event. The fact is that all their auditory and visual memories are stored in the chip behind the ear, and rewinding any moment of life and reproducing what is happening through the lenses is a task for several seconds. Sony has patented a similar idea. There is no chip in the concept yet, but the lenses have already appeared and passed the tests. The bottom line is that the system will record information during a special blink. Inadvertent eye movements will be ignored.

Season 3, Episode 1 – Social Rating

Episode 1 tells us about a girl living in a world that at first glance seems perfect. They are all sweet and friendly with each other, play sports, communicate a lot, and constantly smile. In fact, the heroine, like everyone else, is forced to hide her true feelings and emotions, be too friendly and even slightly intrusive, sometimes go against her conviction in order to achieve a high social rating. The more public approval a person receives, the higher his status, which directly affects the quality of life. Such a system has already begun to be tested in China. Citizens can receive “bonuses” for socially approved behavior. Let’s say the opportunity to educate children in a prestigious school, buy plane tickets, etc.

Season 2, Episode 1 – Virtual Life After Death

After the death of her lover, the heroine seeks help from a company promising to bring a person back to life. At first, technology helps her “communicate” with the deceased through messages, then even make calls. The application scanned social networks, photos, videos, studied habits and behavior, and based on all this created a copy of a person. A week after the release of the series, it became known about the launch of LivesOn. The app learns Twitter posts and continues to maintain a person’s account after he dies. This, of course, is not the robot that was presented to us in the series, but still impressive.

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Bizzare & Odd

Strange skeleton-like creature found in Costa Rica

A woman walking through a forest in Costa Rica was scared when she came across a strange stick-like creature hiding on a tree branch.

The video was reportedly shot by Antonieta Mora when she was picking fruit to make juice. Her usual trip to the wilderness took a strange turn when she noticed that something was moving on a tree.

“At first I thought it was a piece of moss,” Mora recalled, “then I thought it was a cricket, and then I didn’t know if it was a kind of mantis.”

Fortunately, she managed to photograph a strange insect resembling a bunch of spiny branches slowly crawling along a tree branch. Amazed at what she was watching, Mora was surprised that she had never seen anything like it, and “she had lived all her life in the countryside.”

Wondering what creature she encountered, Mora shared her video on a Facebook group dedicated to Costa Rican insects, and soon the secret was solved by one of the experts. 

The mysterious bug was a cricket species known as Markia espinachi. The unique wand-like appearance of this creature is actually just a natural camouflage that protects it from predators.

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Bizzare & Odd

A meteorite was called the source of coronavirus. Chances of contracting it according to blood type

Professor Chandra Wickramasingh from the Buckingham Center for Astrobiology in Britain put forward the original version of the emergence of a new coronavirus, which spread over the whole world in a few months.

According to The Daily Mail, scientists called a meteorite that exploded over China in October last year as the source of the virus.

A meteor in the form of a glowing bright fireball rushed through the sky in the northeast of the PRC around 0:16 in the morning of October 11. It is noted that the outbreak of the virus began in this region of China.

An explosion in a cosmic body could release viral particles in the upper layers of the stratosphere and ensure their entry into the stratospheric air currents that circulate around the Earth.

“The prevailing winds spread the disease to the most affected countries,” the scientist said.

However, other scientists are skeptical of this version, indicating the close relationship of COVID-19 with other well-known coronaviruses.

Recall that by the morning of Monday the total number of coronavirus infected in the world reached 153517 people, the total number of victims of the pandemic – 5375 people.

It turned out that for owners of group II, the risk is higher, and for I – on the contrary, lower

In a sample of a little over 2 thousand patients, Chinese scientists found that people with blood group II are more likely to get a coronavirus infection compared to owners of other groups. And the owners of the I blood group are less likely to get infected than the rest. Specialists published their research in the medRxiv electronic scientific library.

“We first discovered the relationship between the blood group and the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In particular, the second blood group (A) increases the risk of contracting the virus, while carriers of the first group (O) suffer less from it. If our data are confirmed, then these features of the virus should be taken into account in medical practice, “the researchers write.

Doctors and biologists from Wuhan University (China) and their colleagues from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen (China) are interested in whether there are other risk factors besides age, lung damage, chronic diseases, and undermined immunity.

They drew attention to the fact that many viruses, including hepatitis B, Norfolk virus and several other pathogens, are much more likely to attack carriers of the fourth blood group (AB) than other people. And the causative agent of SARS, SARS, rarely penetrated into the body of carriers of the first blood group (O).

Guided by this idea, the researchers found out the proportion with which different blood groups are distributed among ordinary residents of Wuhan. It turned out that in the control group of almost 4 thousand people, one third had group I, the other third had II, the fourth part of the examined had III, and the remaining 9.1% had IV. 

Blood and virus

In the second part of the study, scientists investigated the same proportion for 1.7 thousand infected with coronavirus infection COVID-19 in a large Wuhan hospital, of which 200 have already died. It turned out that there were more patients with group II in percentage terms than among healthy people – 37.8% versus 32.2%. Moreover, among the owners of group I the picture was the opposite – there were fewer, 25.8% among patients and 33.8% among healthy people.

Thus, the proportion of people with the first blood group among patients is much smaller, and with the second – more. For groups III and IV, the percentages remained comparable.

To test these ratios, scientists also examined information on 398 patients from two other hospitals – in Wuhan and Shenzhen. The hypothesis was confirmed: people with blood group II are found among coronavirus-infected people more often than patients with other types of blood.

What exactly makes carriers of the second blood group predisposed to virus attacks, doctors can not yet say. The researchers hope that a subsequent analysis of the data collected during the peak of the epidemic in Wuhan and other cities in China will help them find the answer to this.

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