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CO2 breathing animals? Answered

Obviously from what we see today, evolution branched off into two sides, the co2 producers, and the co2 users.  Now all animals that walk or swim the earth today breath in oxygen and out co2.  It may sound crazy, but have we not even attempted to produce oxygen making creatures.  Evolution just didn't really branch off to this kind of creature and it would be very difficult to create.  Todays Autotrophs don't produce enough energy for a large animal.  Trees and small single cell organisms use tiny amounts of energy, but could a hybrid allotroph, which gets the majority of its energy from eating like a normal cow, but then it also uses co2 and sunlight maybe, and then you can eat it.   Just a crazy thought that has always bugged me.


I do agree...CO2 intake mammals is impossible to create, artifically...even if someone is able to do that so, then we have to think about consequences which would araise due to new species on earth...in a positive way, if new species (co2 intake and release o2) come to existence then our scientist would be able to make all of O2 intakers to live in other planets too...We could live on any planet, if our scientist succeed in creating CO2 intake species---Just a thought :-)

That could be achieved with genetic manipulation. The problem is that humans, by playing "god", we could unleash forces that we may not be able to control.

No, it couldn't be. It requires much more than just "genetic manipulation." And if you don't understand the science behind why, you're not qualified to express a scientific opinion on the subject.

jj.ink says in his question:

"It may sound crazy, but have we not even attempted to produce oxygen making creatures."

If you have read about genetic manipulation you will be amazed of the number of things that researchers have achieved manipulating genes. But apparently you seem to know more than me about the subject. Why don't you enlighten us about the subject?

Sure. Let me outline the areas which you (or any interested reader) should research in order to get sufficient background to draw inferences.

What is the biochemical cycle involved in photosynthesis? What are the various chemicals involved? Which ones store energy, and which ones contribute catalytically to the cycle?

Of the chemicals involved, which ones are already available as products of the metazoan genome? Here I assume, for simplicity, that any gene may be successfully transferred from one metazoan to another, with no ill effects; that assumption is obviously wrong, but necessary.

Of the chemicals involved in photosynthesis which are not already available, which ones are proteinaceous (i.e., enzymes, structural proteins, or small polypetides)? It is conceivable that synthetic biology procedures might be able to construct artificial genes to produce such compounds, even though they do not exist anywhere in Metazoa.

Of the non-proteinaceous chemicals involved in photosynthesis, what reaction or signaling pathways exist to produce them? Can any of those pathways be realized in a metazoan cell? If not, why not?

Comments like yours are destructive to the creative process.

Frankly, how egotistical do you have to be to assume random internet users have to pass one of your pretentious tests before being able to contribute to a clearly layman's discussion.

Go away.

Sorry kelseymh, but you don't have a degree in biology, so you are not qualified to answer such scientific question, neither anyone of us. Therefore if jj.inc would like to obtain a highly technical response like "yours" I think that he would have asked somewhere else. I am going to give an example of a creature that for a long time escaped classification, the humble Euglena. This creature has locomotion like an animal and chloroplasts that perform photosynthesis. It has the "best of both worlds". And yes, with the advances in genetic manipulation many things can be possible.
Everybody knows that plants photosynthesize, that is elemental biology. What he wanted to know was why it hasn't being created somehow, I pressume in a lab. Next time, please, just limit yourself to share your educated response instead of trying to start trolling your fellow people in this forum.

I'm glad you brought up Euglena! It is a wonderful example of both the diversity and unity of life on Earth (and is not an animal, but a protist).

The morphology of Euglena's chloroplasts, which are distinctively different from those of both "normal" plants and of bacteria, strongly suggest that Euglena evolved as a symbiont, eventually merging the genomes of the two symbiotic forms into a single nucleus. This is similar to the way that eukaryotic cells in general are presumed to have evolved. In animal cells, the symbiotic forms eventually became the mitochondria which provide energy through oxygen respiration and breakdown of sugars.

I wasn't trolling. I was pointing out that the poster's question was extremely complex, with a long series of reasons why such a chimera is not trivial to produce in the lab. Most importantly, simple genetic manipulation (transfer of genes from one organism to another) is not sufficient to reproduce complex signaling or energy production pathways.

In order to understand that, it is essential to understand the details of what is being hypothesized, and in order to understand those details, it is necessary to do some detailed research.

I am happy to see the outcome of this question. Its not to often that I spark a hard debate with such satisfying results. Many of my questions are mere sparks of interest which seem like something fun for the community, and this truly amazed me with its facts, whys, and why-nots.

Interesting thought, but there are plenty of trees and plants that already have the job of producing the oxygen we depend on. So I'm not sure why we would need oxygen producing animals when nature has already decided who does what and why.

I was surprised nobody noticed why this would be good to have. First off, most of the O2 we breathe is made in the amazon, wouldn't it be nice to not have to depend on that for our survival. Also people complain all the time about the hazardous greenhouse gasses livestock produce. Wouldn't it be nice if they got rid of them. If the environment was more oxygen rich, the whole planet would be a better place, unless the dinosaurs came back or we had 3 foot butterfly's or something.

Actually, phytoplankton (or algae) is responsible for more than half of the oxygen production. Remember that the oceans cover 71% of the earth versus land mass at 29%. Trees and other land plants do produce a significant amount of oxygen, but we would be more wise to pay attention to how we treat the oceans as they are more important than we give credit for.

CO2 cannot be "breathed" like oxygen because it first requires energy to break up the molecule before it can be used. That it why it is only taken in by photosynthesisers.

There are organisms that "borrow" photosynthesis as part of a symbiotic relationship, but they are all either microscopic or almost entirely inactive (lichens).

It's plants and algae etc. that do this, oxygen breathers suit the bodies they have.
"Horses for courses"


I don't think it would be practical, knowing the energy consumption of animals, and comparing it to that of plants. What's the surface area of the average cow, say, and the surface area of a tree ? And how active is a tree in the winter ?

All green plants make Oxygen and absorb Co2.

We don't need to make them.

Getting a mammalian system to intake Co2 and live on it would be a MAJOR shift in the way things work. Not going to happen.