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Breathing is a physiological process of gas exchange that is remains one of the primary qualifiers that describe a living organism.

While observing the giant space amoeba discovered in 2268, Doctor Leonard McCoy described it as a very simple form of life capable of displaying almost all the functions living organisms perform, including the ability to breathe, eat and reproduce. (TOS: "The Immunity Syndrome")

For most humanoids breathing involves the intake of oxygen (respiration) and the exhale of carbon dioxide, to and from the lungs. The inability to breathe is known as suffocation. The predecessors of the Aquans, known to their descendants as 'air-breathers' developed technology, a surgo-op process, that allowed their species to mutate into 'water-breathers'. (TAS: "The Ambergris Element")

Not all humanoids breathe the same, for example:

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