This animal can give birth in a virgin condition


A study says the endangered California condor can do a virgin birth. This is the first report of asexual reproduction in the Californian condor, although parthenogenesis can occur in other species.

In this study, published in the Journal of Heredity, it is mentioned that in birds, asexual reproduction usually only occurs when the female does not have access to the male.

In this case, each parent condor had previously mated with a male, producing 34 offspring, and each was placed with a fertile male at the time they produced eggs by parthenogenesis.

Parthenogenesis is the growth and development of an embryo or seed without fertilization by a male. Parthenogenesis occurs naturally in several species, including lower plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates.

The researchers say they believe this is the first case of asexual reproduction in any bird species, where the female has access to a mate.

"This finding now raises the question of whether this might have occurred but not been detected in other species," said Oliver Ryder, study co-author and director of conservation genetics for the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

The nonprofit alliance that runs the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park has been involved in the California condor breeding program, helping to bring this giant bird back from extinction.

With a wingspan of 3 meters, the Californian condor is the largest flying bird in North America. They were once scattered all over the West Coast. Unfortunately, only 22 survived in the 1980s when the US government captured them and put them in zoos for captivity. About 160 individuals are bred at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Today, there are more than 500 California condors, including more than 300 that have been released into the wild in California, Arizona, Utah and Mexico.

Asexual reproduction was discovered several years ago during extensive testing of condor genetic material collected over decades, both living and dead, in breeding programs in the wild.

"Among the 467 male California condors tested in the parentage analysis, none of the males qualified as prospective males of either bird," the study wrote.

California condors can live up to 60 years, but both males are sickly. One was less than 2 years old when he died, and the other lived less than eight years.

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