All Hail Our Shark Overlords

by alphamonkey on June 13, 2007 · 1 comment

in Uncategorized

I’m sure some of you remember the news that a Komodo dragon gave birth to 8 hatchlings in a virgin birth (Parthenogenesis is the more scientific term), but more shocking was the discovery that a hammerhead shark pulled off the same feat, by giving birth after being kept in captivity with only other females for 3 years. 

The shark virgin birth (now that’s a horrifying image to wrap your head around) occurred back in 2001, but researchers have just now released their findings and proof that the birth was most assuredly the result of parthenogenesis, which until now has been considered impossible in sharks and humans (for the fact that two identical sets of chromosomes result in female offspring, and not the male offspring that would occur from two identical sets in birds, bees, or reptiles).

Slate’s William Saletan has a nice write up on what we know about parthenogenesis which you can read right here.  Everything is fine and dandy with it until you get to the part where the discussion turns to what the bio-tech industry is doing with parthenogenesis in humans.  Creeeeeeepy.

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    Where’s the fun in that?

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