Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Alcoholic Fish

Comparative Mastehead 2018

As I prepare to leave the great city of New Orleans at the end of a fabulous conference, I can’t help but mention one final poster that I saw titled, “Depressing mitochondrial function during paradoxical anaerobism leads to an alcoholic fish.” It seemed appropriate given our conference hotel was on Bourbon Street.

Male female mecularius.jpg

Image of pupfish by Paul V. Loiselle via Wikimedia Commons 

This poster, presented by Dr. Stanley Hillyard (University of Nevada – Las Vegas) examined desert pupfish (Cyprinodon spp). The study showed that when these fish were acclimated to 33degC, the animals seems to reduce their use of mitochondria oxidation to prevent oxidative stress. Rather, the fish appear to create ethanol as a metabolic end product. I am sure a few folks here on Bourbon Street would be rather jealous of these little fish.

Categories: Comparative Physiology

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