Friday, February 21, 2003

Crayfish Clones

The Marmorkrebs crayfish is currently making news in the scientific world as the first known self-cloning crayfish. Thought to be a close relative of the North American Procambarus fallax, the crayfish can reproduce by parthenogenesis, creating offspring without sexual reproduction. The Marmorkrebs is a popular aquarium pet in Germany, and the fact that it can clone itself makes it a potential threat to ecosystems even if only a single individual escapes into the wild. You can read the original press release here, and if you have a subscription to the journal Nature, there is a link to the research article at the bottom. While there is concern that this crayfish will carry the same deadly fungus as do other North American species, there is also building curiousity about the potential of Marmorkrebs as a research tool.

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