No-Dad Dragons: Komodos reproduce without males

9:17am, December 20, 2006

Two female Komodo dragons in zoos have startled their keepers by laying viable eggs without any contribution from males.

The world's largest lizard species had previously been observed to reproduce only in the usual mom-and-pop way, explains Kevin Buley of the Chester Zoo in England. So, he and the staff at the London Zoo were surprised when, at each institution, a female with no access to males managed to have offspring. Genetic tests have verified that each female was the sole parent of her clutch, Buley and his colleagues report in the Dec. 21 Nature.

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