Richard G. Petty, MD

A Biological Marvel

The BBC is carrying a fascinating story today, though I wonder if it would have attracted as much attention at any other time of the year!

The world’s largest lizard – the Komodo dragon has joined the list of creatures that has produced offspring without male contact. It is called parthenogenesis and there is going to be a paper about this in the journal Nature, but a lot of interest has focused on Flora, a resident of Chester Zoo in England, who is awaiting her clutch of eight eggs to hatch, with a due-date estimated around Christmas. Kevin Buley, who is a curator at Chester Zoo and a co-author on the paper in Nature said: "Flora laid her eggs at the end of May and, given the incubation period of between seven and nine months, it is possible they could hatch around Christmas – which for a ‘virgin birth’ would finish the story off nicely."

Flora, who has never been kept with a male Komodo dragon, produced 11 eggs earlier this year. Three died off, providing the material needed for genetic tests.

These revealed the offspring were not exact genetic copies (clones) of their mother, but their genetic make-up was derived just from her. The research team concluded they were a result of asexual reproduction, and are waiting for the remaining eight eggs to hatch.

This has shades of Jurassic Park, where it was thought that only breeding females and excluding boys would guarantee no breeding.

Think again.

Life is tenacious and resourceful. If there is a way to survice and to leave a genetic legacy, it will.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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