Thursday, April 7, 2011

Could man soon be able to breathe underwater? Scientists eye possibility of merging human and algae DNA - 6th Apr 2011

Scientists have discovered a way for humans to potentially breathe underwater by merging our DNA with that of algae.

In research on salamanders they found that oxygen-producing algae have bonded with their eggs so closely that the two are now inseparable.

By studying the mechanism further, they hope that the same process could be applied to humans one day too.

This would allow us to swim without coming up for air like Harry does in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

In the film the slimy plant gives Harry gills on the side of his neck and lets him breathe underwater like a fish.

The real-life version however could work on a more fundamental level and change our DNA so that we are more like algae, which actually give off oxygen even though they are on the sea bed.

Researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, found that human DNA is packed with hundreds of viruses we have absorbed since mankind came to be.

They applied this theory to salamanders because algae often got stuck in their embryos - and found that some salamanders are literally part algae.

The algae does not leave as the salamander grows, meaning that by the time they are fully formed adults, salamanders are part plant. Read More