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J Exp Zool. 1995 Sep 1;273(1):44-50.

Responses to chronic hypoxia in embryonic alligators.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas 39154, USA.


To investigate developmental responses to chronic hypoxia, we incubated alligator eggs at 17% O2 and 21% O2 for the entire course of embryonic development and for 5 months post-hatching. Hypoxic-incubated alligators hatched later and at a smaller size. Hematocrit was significantly higher in hypoxic-incubated animals immediately post-hatch. Allosteric modification of hemoglobin oxygen affinity did not appear to play a role in the adaptation to hypoxia, given equal nucleotide triphosphate-to-hemoglobin ratios in the hypoxic and normoxic groups. When acutely exposed to 21% O2, hypoxic-incubated alligators maintained oxygen consumption relative to their normoxic siblings despite their lower mass.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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