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Journal Journal: Immaculate conception

Scientific American is running this story on the "immaculate conception" of Komodo dragons at two English zoos. From the story:

Indonesian dragons can breed without the benefit of masculine companionship. Last week, researchers reported in Nature that the only two sexually mature female Komodo dragons in all of Europe laid viable eggs without insemination from a male. One Komodo, named Flora, lives at the Chester Zoo in England and has never been kept with a male; yet a few months ago she laid a clutch of 11 eggs, eight of which seem to be developing normally and may hatch as soon as January. Earlier this year, a now deceased female named Sungai from the London Zoo laid a clutch of 22 eggs, four of which yielded normal male dragons--even though Sungai hadn't had a date in two and a half years.

Some reptiles can hold onto sperm for several years, so initially researchers considered that Sungai's eggs had a father. But genetic analysis ruled that out, unless the father were somehow genetically identical to her.

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