Thelma the snake confused then astounded her keepers.
This 6m long (20 ft) python had spent four years alone in Louisville zoo in the US, without ever having met a male of her species. But, somehow, she laid over 61 eggs, producing six healthy babies.
Perhaps she’d managed to secretively mate with a male many years before, and store his sperm all this time?
Genetic tests soon revealed the answer.
Thelma had become the first reticulated python in the world known to have had a real-life virgin birth.
She’d made eggs that contained all the genetic information required to make a daughter; without the need for a father, his sperm or DNA. She’d done it fusing her eggs with a by-product of her dividing cells, called a polar body. This object played the same role as sperm would normally, triggering the egg to develop into an embryo. Each of her offspring contained two copies of half her chromosomes. They were half-clones of Thelma.
Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Learn resistor values with Mho’s Resistance or get the best electronics calculator for engineers “Circuit Playground” – Adafruit’s Apps!
Maker Business — How Authority and Decision-Making Differ Across Cultures
Wearables — Template commitment
Electronics — Desolder with… more solder!
Biohacking — The TRI-Analyzer Turns Smartphones into a Mobile Lab
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.