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Keep up with news and features of interest to the reptile and amphibian community on the kingsnake.com blog. We cover breaking stories from the mainstream and scientific media, user-submitted photos and videos, and feature articles and photos by Jeff Barringer, Richard Bartlett, and other herpetologists and herpetoculturists.

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Parthenogenetic Boa Constrictor

By
Sat, September 25 2010 at 08:24

Comments
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wow, cant wait for the results.
#1 Dustin on 2010-09-30 17:47 (Reply)
Could it be the result of a lethal-recessive allele on the Y-chromosome?
#2 Scott on 2010-10-01 09:52 (Reply)
I guess I don't really follow that concept. Do you mean there are only females because of a lethal gene in males? The fact that all the babies are female simply adds to the likelihood of a Parthenogentic litter. The fact that all the offspring are Anerys and Ghosts is the primary indicator. Also, there isn't a "y" Chromosome in snakes. Females are actually ZW while males are ZZ.
#2.1 Jeff Ronne Sr. (Homepage) on 2010-10-01 10:50 (Reply)
Sorry for the brain fart, long week and I'm running on fumes.
Yes, more specifically (I hope): A lethal genetic trait expressed either directly in a ZZ combination, or secondary via an associated autosomal anomality within the genic balance mechanism.
#3 Scott on 2010-10-01 14:27 (Reply)
Very interesting. Can't wait to hear what results you find!
K
#4 NaturalistGuy.com (Homepage) on 2010-10-03 08:02 (Reply)
It will be very interesting to see what comes of this! Always great to see the research world and herpetocultural world working together.

Three possible ways a female could produce viable offspring without a male in the ZW/ZZ chromosome system:

1. Meiosis occurs normally, haploid gametes undergo terminal fusion resulting in either WW or ZZ (offspring inheriting two copies of 1/2 of the mother's genome). Since WW is non-viable, all offspring will be male and obviously not clones of mom (documented in birds and Varanids).

2. Meiosis occurs normally, haploid gametes undergo central fusion, resulting in ZW. All offspring will therefore be female, and even though they inherit the complete maternal genome, they will not be exact copies of the mother due to "crossing over". Plausible in this case given two phenotypes (ghost and anerythristic) were expressed in the litter.

3. Pre-meiotic chromosomal doubling occurs so that the 4 resulting gametes would be diploid (instead of the usual haploid) and exact copies of the maternal genotype. The fact that the litter contained two phenotypes suggests this is not the case here.

I'll post this with a diagram over in the boa forum.

How was retained sperm ruled out?
#5 Amanda on 2010-10-14 12:06 (Reply)
I believe WW has now been confirmed viable by Shannon Moore's two litters of all 2009 and 2010 litters of all WW females.
#5.1 Garret on 2011-04-12 18:50 (Reply)

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