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Antarctic Fish Is a Blood Doping Champion

To remain active in frigid environments, the bald notothen drastically adjusts oxygen in its blood.

Blood doping to heighten performance is forbidden in professional sports. Athletes can use this technique to fuel their muscles with more oxygen-carrying red blood cells—for example, by receiving a transfusion. But many animals dope naturally: pigs, marine fish and diving seals can boost their blood oxygen levels by 40 to 60 percent in physically demanding situations. Professor Michael Axelsson has shown that an Antarctic fish called the bald notothen can ramp up its levels by more than 200 percent to pursue an active life in frigid waters.

Read article in Scientific American.