There are many species of turtles in the world, and some of them have baffled scientists with their abilities. Apparently, these animals can spend winters in frozen lakes with practically no oxygen. Even after a few months in these conditions, the turtles maintain practically ideal heart health.
A series of studies has shown that the turtles owe their abilities to genetic changes that occur in early stages of development, when the embryo does not get enough oxygen. The turtle’s heart structure adapts to these conditions, and the changes are maintained throughout its lifetime.
A key aspect of these changes is the development of resistance to toxic forms of oxygen which can lead to oxidative stress. Research believe that their new findings can lead to improvements in the way human hearts work. In theory, this can reduce mortality due to fires and make it easier for humans to work in a space environment.