Parthenogenesis and the Condor – Ornithology


Parthenogenesis means beginning with out fertilization. In different phrases, a feminine provides beginning to offspring with out having been impregnated by a male. This phenomenon happens usually in some vegetation and numerous invertebrates like nematodes, some scorpions and mites, aphids, some bees, and parasitic wasps. It additionally occurs amongst all vertebrates besides mammals – sure, even birds. Parthenogenesis has been confirmed in hammerhead and blacktip sharks, some geckos, Komodo Dragons, and a few species of boas, garter snakes, and rattlesnakes, amongst others. In birds most examples are from home turkeys and pigeons, but in addition Zebra Finches and Rock Pigeons. In these circumstances the eggs didn’t develop usually and didn’t hatch.

The California Condor was positioned on the federal endangered species record in 1967. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started a captive breeding program in 1983, teaming with the Los Angeles Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park. However within the wild, condor numbers continued to say no till by 1985 solely 9 wild birds remained. All remaining condors have been introduced into captivity, and the final wild chook was captured on April 19, 1987.

Condors aren’t sexually energetic till concerning the age of six and when a pair does so, just one egg can be produced yearly or so. So captive breeding strategies have been developed during which eggs are eliminated as they’re laid, often inflicting the captive condors to put a second and generally a 3rd egg. The additional eggs are incubated artificially and the chicks raised utilizing a hand puppet formed like a condor head, though some condor chicks are raised by their mother and father. As we speak, there are greater than 127 condors within the wild in California, Utah, and Arizona.

Within the means of captive breeding condors, there have been two cases of condors laying unfertilized eggs. As reported in The Scientist, two of the California condor females produced younger with out a male companion, one in 2001 and one in 2009. Found after DNA analyses, the offspring had, as an alternative of 1 set of genes from a father and one from a mom, two units of the moms’ genes. Each of the offspring have been comparatively small and died at early ages of 1.9 years and seven.9 years.

At the least 700 species of animals exhibit parthenogenesis, so it have to be helpful in some circumstances. This mode of copy usually produces solely feminine offspring (besides in snakes, the place solely males are produced). It is a particular benefit to the species as feminine offspring are capable of contribute on to the inhabitants of a species with out trying to find a male. If the objective of evolution is to create as many offspring as doable within the shortest time, parthenogenesis is the best way to go. The offspring have genes that come from one particular person, conferring genetic stability and in an unchanging surroundings that’s advantageous. Conversely, a dynamic surroundings requires that populations adapt, generally shortly, and parthenogenesis is then disadvantageous.

Partheogenesis has solely been noticed in captive birds. It might occur within the wild however might be a uncommon phenomenon. Just like the appendix, it’s a leftover from early evolution.

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