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Komodo dragon has virgin birth

Posted on Friday, December 22 2006 @ 11:06:42 CET by

Scientists announced two cases where female Komodo dragons have become pregnant without male contact:
Tests revealed their eggs had developed without being fertilised by sperm - a process called parthenogenesis, the team wrote in the journal Nature.

One of the reptiles, Flora, a resident of Chester Zoo in the UK, is awaiting her clutch of eight eggs to hatch, with a due-date estimated around Christmas.

Kevin Buley, a curator at Chester Zoo and a co-author on the paper, said: "Flora laid her eggs at the end of May and, given the incubation period of between seven and nine months, it is possible they could hatch around Christmas - which for a 'virgin birth' would finish the story off nicely.

"We will be on the look-out for shepherds, wise men and an unusually bright star in the sky over Chester Zoo."

Flora, who has never been kept with a male Komodo dragon, produced 11 eggs earlier this year. Three died off, providing the material needed for genetic tests.
The tests showed the offspring isn't an expect copy of the mother, but that it's derived from her.



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