Female Sharks Can Reproduce Alone

Posted on May 23, 2007  Comments (4)

Female Sharks Can Reproduce Alone, Researchers Find

A team of American and Irish researchers have discovered that some female sharks can reproduce without having sex, the first time that scientists have found the unusual capacity in such an ancient vertebrate species. The[y] report that sharks can reproduce asexually through the process known as parthenogenesis

Though the three females had been caught before they reached sexual maturity and held in captivity for more than three years, researchers initially thought one had stored sperm from a male shark before fertilizing an egg. But the team — which included scientists at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, Queen’s University Belfast and the zoo — determined that the baby shark’s genetic makeup perfectly matched one of the females in the tank, with no sign of a male parent.

Mahmood Shivji — Nova Southeastern’s Guy Harvey Research Institute director and one of the paper’s authors — said that he and his colleagues determined that a byproduct formed when sharks produce eggs, known as a sister polar body, had fused with an unfertilized egg to produce the baby shark, whose DNA had only half as much genetic variability as the mother.

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4 Responses to “Female Sharks Can Reproduce Alone”

  1. Caleb Buxton
    May 23rd, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    I for one welcome our new sharky-messiah.

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Amazon Molly Fish are All Female
    April 24th, 2008 @ 8:49 am

    […] Female Sharks Can Reproduce Alone – Only Dad’s Genes – Bdelloid Rotifers Abandoned Sex 100 Million Years Ago – Sex and the […]

  3. Curious Cat Science Blog » Virgin Birth for Another Shark Species
    October 12th, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    This time, a blacktip shark… had spent nearly her entire eight years at either the Virginia Aquarium without any male companionship from her kind…

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    December 25th, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

    “Scientists are discovering that virgin births occur in many different species; amphibians, reptiles, cartilaginous and bony fish and birds and it happens for reasons we don’t quite understand…”

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