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Facultative parthenogenesis 

Facultative parthenogenesis

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Scientists have documented the first-known instance of a Facultative parthenogenesis also referred as “virgin birth” by a crocodile.

About Facultative Parthenogenesis (FP)

What is Parthenogenesis?

  • It is a reproductive process in which an organism develops from an unfertilized egg. It occurs naturally in certain species, primarily invertebrates, such as insects, reptiles, and some fish. However, it is extremely rare in mammals, including humans.

What is Facultative Parthenogenesis?

  • It refers to a form of reproduction in which an organism has the ability to reproduce either sexually or asexually through parthenogenesis, depending on the circumstances.
  • In facultative parthenogenesis, the female retains the ability to reproduce sexually and
    produce offspring through the union of sperm and egg.
  • However, if mating opportunities are limited or absent, the female can switch to asexual reproduction by producing viable offspring from unfertilized eggs.

FP around the Ecosystem

  • This phenomenon has been documented in several reptile species, including certain snakes, lizards, and Komodo dragons.
  • It has also been documented in other species of fish, birds, lizards.
  • For example, female Komodo dragons have been known to lay fertile eggs even without mating, resulting in the production of viable offspring.

Importance of FP

  • FP has important implications for population dynamics and evolutionary biology. It allows females to reproduce and maintain their genetic lineage even when males are scarce or unavailable.
  • It can also lead to the establishment of new populations or colonization of new habitats by a single individual, which can have implications for genetic diversity and adaptation.

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