The overall energy budget for protein synthesis (i.e., transcription plus translation) is thought to consist of fixed and variable components, with RNA synthesis accounting for the former and protein synthesis the latter. During anoxia, the downregulation of protein synthesis (i.e., the variable component), to reduce energetic demand, is an important aspect of survival in crucian carp. The present study examines RNA synthesis during anoxia by labeling with [(3)H]uridine. A novel synthesis rate calculation is presented, which allows for the tissue-specific salvage of uridine, with synthesis rates finally expressed relative to DNA. After 48 h anoxia, the decline (29%) in brain RNA synthesis and increases in the heart and liver (132 and 871%, respectively) support known RNA functions during hypoxic/anoxic survival. This study provides evidence that, in an anoxia-tolerant species, survival mechanisms involving RNA are able to operate because tissue-specific restructuring of the RNA synthesis process enables fixed synthesis costs to be maintained; this may be as vital to survival as exploiting the variable energetic demand of protein synthesis.