A Mutant Crayfish Is Cloning Itself

A Mutant Crayfish Is Cloning Itself

The first marble crayfish has emerged in 1995 Germany, in a pet shop, and it was the result of a mixture of other similar animals originally from the US rivers.

There are no marble crayfish males

This crayfish mutant is unique as there are only females marble crayfish and no males. However, this doesn’t represent an inconvenience for them as the females of this species are reproducing by creating genetic copies, in short, by cloning themselves.

Yes, the marble crayfish is cloning itself to reproduce.

However, it is known that it first emerged in a pet shop in Germany in 1995 and was a real success. The Germans called this species “Marmokrebs”.

The Marmokrebs invaded the world

Since it was first sold in the aforementioned pet shop in Germany, the Marmokrebs reached to a lot of countries. However, the most important Marmokrebs presence has been registered in Madagascar where the habitat of this species grew from just 1,000 sq miles to 100,000 sq miles in only 10 years.

Also, the Marmokrebs were observed in Sweden and Japan. The researchers have observed that the Marmokrebs are capable of living with a minimal adaptation to the environment, in comparison with other animals which need lots of external favorable factors to living and reproducing in a specific habitat.

However, the massive reproduction of the Marmokrebs started to cause issues for ecologists but represent a domain of interest for biologists.

The scientific importance of the Marmokrebs

The science only knows a few species that can self-reproduce, besides microbes, but none of those species can “clone” itself for so long periods of time as the Marmokrebs does. Even more, the scientists are overwhelmed by the way the Marmokrebs is adapting to different environments and started to study this crayfish’s genome hoping to find precious information.

Until now, the researchers only observed some specific genes which are involved in the secretion of some specific enzymes which can break down cellulose.


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