Sawfish 'virgin births': Species procreates without males, says study

Smalltooth sawfish in Florida have been found to procreate through parthogenesis

Louis Dore
Tuesday 02 June 2015 09:04

A new study has shown that a species of fish doesn’t need males to procreate.

The study, published in Current Biology, shows that 3 per cent of sawfish in an estuary in Florida have no biological father.

Instead of having a set of genes from their mother and another set from a father, some smalltooth sawfish simply inherit two sets from the mother.

"I was looking at their DNA and some of it looked different," lead author Andrew Fields told Tech Times.

"When we analysed those differences, they turned out to be due to parthenogenesis."

Parthogenesis has been previously recorded in captive female animals such as birds, reptiles and sharks, but this is the first time the phenomenon has been seen in a wild animal.

However, animals reproduced by this method often suffer genetic defects and many embryos fertilised this way do not make it to term.

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