Posted 20 августа 2021,, 09:06

Published 20 августа 2021,, 09:06

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

The miracle of fatherlessness: a shark that spent 10 years in an aquarium gave birth to a shark

The miracle of fatherlessness: a shark that spent 10 years in an aquarium gave birth to a shark

20 августа 2021, 09:06
Фото: Sport Diver
The Cala Gonone aquarium workers claim that the females, one of whom gave birth to a cub, spent ten years without a single male, and they call the incident a miracle. If DNA analysis confirms their words, this will be the first known case of asexual reproduction in a mustela shark.

A baby shark has appeared in the Cala Gonone aquarium in Sardinia, according to the Daily Mail. This would not be unusual if the shark did not appear in the aquarium, where two females live, who have not seen the male for at least ten years.

Experts believe this may be the first case of same-sex reproduction, or partogenesis, in mustelids, in which a baby is born from an egg without fertilization. In this case, the so-called polar body develops in the mother's body, which contains a double copy of the egg's DNA and acts as sperm, turning the egg into an embryo. The baby being born is a clone of the mother - they are genetically identical.

Usually parthenogenesis occurs in lower plants and invertebrates: ants, wasps, bees. In animals with a complex organization, it is quite rare - only 0.1% of them reproduce in this way. Among those capable of partogenesis are Komodo lizards, some species of fish, chickens. Scientists believe that some shark species can also experience same-sex breeding - in populations with low density, when females have little chance of meeting a male for breeding. However, over time, partogenesis can lead to extreme inbreeding, reducing genetic diversity and adaptability, so sharks rarely use this skill.

The staff of the Sardinian aquarium sent DNA samples from two female sharks to a specialized laboratory, which should confirm or deny their hypothesis of "immaculate conception".