In a finding that upends decades of scientific theory on reptile reproduction, researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that female boa constrictors can squeeze out babies without mating.
More strikingly, the finding shows that the babies produced from this asexual reproduction have attributes previously believed to be impossible.
Large litters of all-female babies produced by the "super mom" boa constrictor show absolutely no male influence -- no genetic fingerprint that a male was involved in the reproductive process. All the female babies also retained their mother's rare recessive color mutation.
This is the first time asexual reproduction, known in the scientific world as parthenogenesis, has been attributed to boa constrictors, says Dr. Warren Booth, an NC State postdoctoral researcher in entomology and the lead author of a paper describing the study. He adds that the results may force scientists to re-examine reptile reproduction, especially among more primitive snake species like boa constrictors.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Mating not necessary
At least not in boa constrictors. Science daily reports: