A ‘virgin-born’ event for the California condor

This species once lived in the southwestern United States—Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and southern California—and along the West Coast, but by the 1980s, only 22 specimens remained in the wild.

The US government had those remaining specimens captured and placed at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and the Los Angeles Zoo for a breeding program.

There are now over 500 California condors once again, including more than 300 released into the wild in California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California in Mexico.

Asexual reproduction was discovered during extensive testing of genetic material collected over decades from condors, both live and dead, in breeding programs and in the wild. “Of the 467 male California condors tested in the kinship analysis, not a single male qualified to be the potential father of the two chicks,” the study says.

California condors can live up to 60 years of age, but the two male chicks mentioned were sick. One died when he was less than two years old, and the other lived less than eight years.

from A study by researchers from the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the University of California and Los Angeles, and the Oregon Zoo has been published in Genetics Magazine. This article is based on a telex from the Associated Press.

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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