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Mutant Crayfish Clones Self-Spawning Out of Control

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A mutant cloned crayfish is self-spawning out of control leaving researchers puzzled about two things: How did it happen and how many of these rogue crawladies (not dads) can Earth support if they turn out to be not good in jambalaya? – reported Newsmax.

The first self-cloning crayfish were found in 2003 when a German aquarium owner purchased a bag of "Texas crayfish" from a pet trader and saw his tank fill with the creatures without the need of mating because all were female, The Atlantic magazine reported.

The process, called parthenogenesis, allows the eggs of the crayfish to develop without being fertilized as they grow into copies of their mother, researchers told The Atlantic. The new mutant marbled crayfish have now shown up in the wild of Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden, Japan, and Madagascar.

"We're being invaded by an army of clones," said Zen Faulkes, a crustacean researcher at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley who keeps a map of marbled crayfish invasions, per The Atlantic. "Every single one has the ability to reproduce. Every single one could start a new population."

A study, published this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, detailed how researchers examined the genome of crayfish from the wild and from the pet trade. They found that their genome were nearly identical and have become a different species from the "mother" species Procambarus fallax, per Newsweek magazine.

"Here we have an evolutionary event that has happened only a very short time ago," Frank Lyko, head of divisions of epigenetics at the German Cancer Research Center, told Newsweek.
"Certainly there will be some changes, genetic changes over time, that will make it more normal. At this specific time point in evolution it’s very unique."

Newsweek said crayfish were ideal for pet industry because they can easily be bred in captivity, but a problem for people who only want one, as pet. Researchers believe the crayfish became invasive in Germany and Madagascar through the pet industry.

Read more at newsmax.com

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