For the first time, scientists have identified in mammals an essential mechanism used by linkurl:amphibians;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/4/1/48/1/ to adjust to low-oxygen environments. According to a linkurl:study;http://www.cell.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS0092867408002894 published today (Apr 17) in the journal __Cell__, the skin of mice can sense oxygen levels in the air and helps the rodents cope with oxygen-poor conditions. While science has long-known that epidermal gas exchange is essential for amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, and most insects, the mouse is the first vertebrate outside of amphibians to exhibit the phenomenon. "It's not part of the dogma," said linkurl:Randall Johnson,;http://www-biology.ucsd.edu/faculty/johnson.html the University of California, San Diego, molecular biologist who led the international team of study authors. The findings, in essence, elucidate an entirely new sensory apparatus in the mammalian response to low-oxygen environments. Harvard Medical School professor linkurl:H. Franklin Bunn,;http://bunn.bwh.harvard.edu/ who was not involved in the study, agreed that the results were surprising. "It's very exciting," Bunn...
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