Asian Water Dragon Produces Babies All By Herself: No Male Needed

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The almost 3-year-old female offspring (left) and her 12-year-old mother (right) (Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo )

The National Zoo’s Female Asian Water Dragon Successfully Reproduced Without a Male

by Meilan Solly Smithsonian.com

A female Asian water dragon housed at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo has successfully produced healthy offspring without the assistance of a breeding male. As researchers led by Kyle Miller, an animal keeper at the Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center, report in the journal PLoS ONE, the unusual occurrence—officially known as facultative parthenogenesis—marks the first time this behavior has been recorded in both the Physignathus cocincinus species and the reptilian Agamidae family.

In layman’s terms, parthenogenesis refers to female reproduction conducted without any genetic contribution from a male. According to Science Direct, obligate parthenogenesis happens when organisms can only reproduce asexually, while facultative parthenogenesis takes place when species capable of sexual reproduction resort to solo methods. Although the latter variation occurs most commonly among isolated captive specimens, recent research has shown that it is also seen in wild populations.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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