Scientists have created accidentally a rare hybrid of two fish species in danger of extinction

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Scientists from Hungary they thought it was safe to put near sperm fish rowing us with eggs of Russian sturgeon in his laboratory. In Total, 184 million years of evolution and tens of thousands of miles of physical separation would have caused both species were sexually incompatible. But they were wrong. And the result of “ incident ” was born as a new species hybrid.

The original idea was to get the eggs from the sturgeon, which is in danger of extinction, reproduce asexually through a process called ginogénesis , very used in the reproduction in captivity of fish. This process requires the presence of sperm, but the DNA you do not get to enter into the egg. But the plan does not work out as planned. In the end, the DNA itself that is transferred to the egg, creating a new variety. The conclusions are just dde published in the journal “Genes”.

Two very different kinds of species

These creatures look strange are a strange mix of the two species look very different, which could never have had contact with if the human had not intervened. The e sturiones Russian feed on what they find in funds of seas, lakes and rivers in the east of Europe, Serbia and the Middle East. They are not in the united States, nor even as an invasive species. For its part, as its name suggests, the fish spatula american can be found in the rivers of the united States, using their snouts unusually long and paddle-shaped to dig for food in the mud.

The descendants of these two species are, if possible, even more strange than their parents. Some have fins and snouts of sturgeon classic, along with the typical mouths and appetites of fish paddling. But others seem much more to the sturgeon, the paddlefish. “It’s just not what he believed. I thought, what hybridization between the sturgeon and fish rowing? It is not possible”, explains the biologist Solomon David the New York Times.

The above image depicts a Russian sturgeon typical; the lower image is of a fish, rowing american. The two images in the middle show examples hybrid of the two. The bottom is a fish spatula – american Kaldy et al., Genes, 2020

you Can seem impossible, but as different as they look, these fish, have great similarities: both species are known as living fossils , such as crocodiles, because they have changed very little over their evolutionary history. In addition, both shared a common ancestor that lived during the age of the dinosaurs, and while that might seem like a long time ago, for these fish that is a drop in the bucket.

“These phenomena could lead to a greater similarity, compatibility and flexibility between the genomes of sturgeon and allow hybridization between the Russian sturgeon and paddlefish american despite the large geographical distances, physiological and morphological “, argue the authors. That makes this a discovery, adds the team, as other hybridizations between families taxinómicas equally distant have failed.

while these new fish are probably sterile , like other hybrids, it seems that you are able to survive at a rate similar to the paddlefish an american. In fact, some are still alive and “kicking” yet. However, scientists do not have plans to produce more of these fish are hybrids, although they will continue studying how to breed sturgeon and paddlefish in the hope of saving these fish to the brink of extinction.

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