2 California condors reproduced asexually, scientists say — a first recorded for that species

And whereas this has been seen in different vertebrates and even birds, these are believed to be the primary recorded situations in birds when the females had entry to a mate, researchers mentioned.

The distinctive hatchings — the primary of which occurred within the early 2000s and the second later that decade — have been famous solely when researchers analyzed organic samples from condors at a breeding program run by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the group mentioned.

The invention, reported Thursday within the Journal of Heredity, raises questions on what number of extra species reproduce asexually undetected, one of many researchers mentioned.

The feminine condors in query have been constantly housed with a fertile male within the alliance’s breeding program, and every had quite a few different chicks with their mates. However latest genetic testing discovered two anomalies.

The 2 anomalous chicks have been genetically associated to the feminine that laid their eggs, however neither was genetically associated to a male, that means each have been biologically fatherless, the alliance said.

“It simply hit us within the face. We solely confirmed it due to the traditional genetic research we do to show parentage,” Oliver Ryder, the alliance’s director of conservation genetics, mentioned in a information launch.

“Our outcomes confirmed that each eggs possessed the anticipated male ZZ intercourse chromosomes, however all markers have been solely inherited from their dams (moms), verifying our findings.”

One chick died in 2003 shortly earlier than its second birthday; the opposite died in 2017 days earlier than it turned 8, researchers mentioned.

For vertebrates, asexual replica, or parthenogenesis, is uncommon however hardly novel. It’s seen in some species of fish and reptiles, and scientists imagine it may be a response to isolation from any male companions.
A Komodo dragon with no male partner gave birth to three hatchlings
In birds, asexual replica has been recorded not often, and primarily in home turkeys and chickens separated from males, researchers mentioned within the Journal of Heredity report.

Scientists additionally noticed the beginnings of asexual replica in finches in a 2008 research, and in home pigeons in a 1924 research — however the eggs didn’t hatch, the journal report reads.

Researchers imagine the condor findings stand out, when in comparison with different situations in birds.

A ball python laid 7 eggs at the Saint Louis Zoo, even though she hasn't been around a male in years

“In contrast to different examples of avian parthenogenesis, these two occurrences are usually not defined by the absence of an acceptable male,” Cynthia Steiner, affiliate director of the alliance’s conservation analysis division, mentioned.

California condors have lengthy been thought-about endangered. About 200 adults are identified to be within the wild, the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature says.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, a nonprofit conservation group on the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, says it hopes to establish different instances of asexual replica.

“These findings now elevate questions on whether or not this would possibly happen undetected in different species,” Ryder mentioned.

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