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DUBLIN, Ireland — 

Female sharks can fertilize their own eggs and give birth without sperm from males, according to a new study of the asexual reproduction of a hammerhead in a U.S. zoo.

 

The joint Northern Ireland-U.S. research, being published Wednesday in the Royal Society's peer-reviewed Biology Letters journal, analyzed the DNA of a shark born in 2001 in the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb.

The shark was born in a tank with three potential mothers, none of whom had contact with a male hammerhead for at least three years.

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Analysis of the baby shark's DNA found no trace of any chromosomal contribution from a male partner. Shark experts said this was the first confirmed case in a shark of parthenogenesis, which is derived from Greek and means "virgin birth."

Asexual reproduction is common in some insect species, rarer in reptiles and fish, and has never been documented in mammals.

The list of animals documented as capable of the feat has grown along with the numbers being raised in captivity — but until now, sharks were not considered a likely candidate.

"The findings were really surprising because as far as anyone knew, all sharks reproduced only sexually by a male and female mating, requiring the embryo to get DNA from both parents for full development, just like in mammals," said marine biologist Paulo Prodahl of Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, a co-author of the report.

Before the study, many shark experts had presumed that the Nebraska birth involved a female shark's well-documented ability to store sperm for a lengthy period of time. Doing this for six months is common, while three years would be exceptional, they agreed.

The lack of any paternal DNA in the baby shark ruled out this possibility.

"We were all very skeptical about these reports, about the possibility of a so-called virgin birth in a shark, because sharks have this unusual ability to store sperm for months if not years. So this finding is new and definitely unexpected," said Bob Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., who wasn't involved in the project.

He noted that sharks have been on Earth longer than other species higher up the evolutionary chain that have also demonstrated this ability, such as lizards and birds.

The report's other co-author, Mahmood Shivji of the Guy Harvey Research Institute in Dania Beach, Fla., said the finding explained growing numbers of reports of mystery, male-free shark births in captivity.

Shivji said the research "may have solved a general mystery about shark reproduction," because it suggests that sharks can "switch from a sexual to a non-sexual mode of reproduction."

But he said this was not necessarily a positive ability because baby sharks produced only by the mother suffer from "reduced genetic diversity."

Genetic diversity makes living creatures better able to adapt to threats, such as disease.

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Like clockwork, come 7:00 a.m., I'm wide fucking awake.  I'm angry cause I can't go back to sleep.  Which is unfortunate, I didn't get home last night until after 3:00.  I'm so tired!  Sad I missed compulsion last night but will see all at Pop Roxx and DM tonight I'm sure.  Although, last night 5lowershop was good, even though both Jim and I are still stick.  I need SLEEP!!!

Current Location: Not Asleep
Current Mood: tired tired

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I deleted my vitriolic, vile anger spewing from earlier.  Ahhhh...feel much better now.  Went to test drive a car, two hours later, drove home in it.  Whoa is me.  I want to drive it now...everywhere!  Amazing how buying makes me feel so much better. 

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Current Music: loud and in the car

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Tomorrow I have to go back to work.  I'm still sick, but 10 xs better today.  I finally broke the fever last night.  I can't believe I got sick, I've always got like kick ass immunity and this time it just knocked me out.  I think too much stress lately with my house, my heart, my life.  Only watched one really good movie today, The Last King of Scotland, it was excellent and Forest Whitaker was awesome as Idi Amin.  Mission Impossible 3...hmmm...fell asleep about 20 minutes in, i'm not a huge Tom Cruise fan so it has to be really good to keep me engaged.  Saw 3...made it through about 15 minutes before i was bored to death and shut it off.  Disturbia wouldn't load at all today so maybe tomorrow night as I have to go back to work tomorrow.  Number 23, glad I didn't pay for it.  So, now that I'm feeling better I'm going to have me a heaping bowl of Eric Bana...yummy!  Just not sure which of his movies to watch.

Current Location: still in bed
Current Mood: tired tired

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Ugh...I have spent an entire day in bed watching movies...here's what i've learned...

Children of Men...excellent, don't watch when emo...its a little disturbing
300...awesome...everyone needs to see this
Premonition...its like a creepy groundhog day...don't bother
The Reaping...yuck, it was horrible

I still have a fever so on tomorrow's agenda is Disturbia, hopefully Zodiac...and I'm not sure what else I can get my hands on that's out right now.

I hate being sick.  I have a wonderful roommate who takes good care of  me, but whenever i'm sick like this I realize how lonely I am.

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I stayed home from work today.  I'm so sick...yuck.  No one should spend this much time in a horizontal position,alone.  I'm bored out of my mind.  I've watched movies like crazy though.  Watched Children of Men, on Jim's recommendation, and I don't know if my psyche will recover.  I watched Turistas, what a waste of Brazil.  Watched Babel, wow, forgot how super hot Brad Pitt is, i guess I need a reminder every once in awhile.  Now watching 300.  I think I need Soup and a hot Chai, anyone want to bring me one???

Back to my movie and pouting from being sick.  

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I woke up with the plague this morning.  No warning, just boom, totally sick.  Head draining, throat closed, i feel like i'm dying.  Perhaps I shouldn't have been out dancing until 4:00 a.m. last night, but i felt fine last night.  Already warned my dancing buddy to load up on the airborne since i seem to be afflicted with the black death and he doesn't need to get sick.  Please shoot me and put me out of my misery.  Now.

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Current Music: Can't hear, ears plugged

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I'm supposed to go car shopping and having serious issues getting motivated.  Plus my "negotiators/make sure dumb chick doesn't get ripped off" guys can't go today.  Damon has to work...jeez...you mean he can't make a living being a DJ?  And I think Jim is still in bed and Devin is at  a wedding.  Bed sounds awfully good...how bad would it be to put off the car thing for a little while...Yes, indeed, so it shall be, i'm going back to bed. 

Anyone have any recommendations for dealerships or types of cars?

Current Location: my bed
Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

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Wow, it was weird today, canceling all my extra utilities, homeowners insurance and such.  I never have to go back to that house.  Its no longer mine.  Its left me uneasy all day.  Certainly, there are some things I won't miss, like all those extra bills every month, but its still so sad.  Its definitely not helping this helpless feeling of being lost that I seem to have this week.  That thought that keeps poking the back of my eyeballs telling me to move again, start again.  But I just did that and really don't want to do it again anytime soon.  My life is like legos, I keep building it up and tearing it down and creating something new, maybe that's not a good thing.  Cause at the same time many of those same pieces get recycled everytime.  Hmmm...legos as a metaphor for life, couldn't be any weirder than organic chemistry as a metaphor for relationships.  I may not believe in much lately, but i believe I'm gonna get wasted tonight and hopefully be sober enough tomorrow to go car shopping.  Its time to get rid of the abrahms tank.

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Current Mood: thirsty thirsty

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I only had the opprtunity to work with sea turtles a few times, but this rocks. go to www.greatturtlerace.com and pick a turtle to cheer on for the migration from Costa Rica to the Galapagos. 11 leatherbacks are fitted with tags, satellite monitors, and I'm sure other telemetry equipment to monitor the race. Its a good cause for a gentle species near extinction!  Get online and pick yourself a turtle to root for.  Many of these turtles have corporate sponsors.

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