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Study finds California condors can have 'virgin births'

The study was published Thursday in the Journal of Heredity.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, a California condor takes flight in the Ventana Wilderness east of Big Sur, Calif. Endangered California condors can have “'virgin births," according to a study released Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said genetic testing confirmed that two male chicks hatched in 2001 and 2009 from unfertilized eggs were related to their mothers. Neither was related to a male.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

CALIFORNIA, USA — A new study says endangered California condors can have "virgin births."

Researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance say genetic testing confirmed that two male chicks hatched from unfertilized eggs in 2001 and 2009 were related to their mothers. Neither was related to a male. 

It's the first report of asexual reproduction in California condors, although parthenogenesis can occur in other species ranging from sharks to honey bees to Komodo dragons. But in birds, it usually only occurs when females don't have access to males. In this case, each mother had a mate. 

The study was published Thursday in the Journal of Heredity.

For the full AP story, click HERE

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