All-Female Crayfish Threaten to Take Over The World

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Thre is a 10-legged crayfish out there that is all-female, that is threatening to take over the whole world.  It all happened when one of these crayfish, called a Marble Crayfish, escaped from an experimental aquarium in Germany.  The crayfish itself was the result of an accidental breeding that took place in that same aquarium around 1995.

The all-female crayfish, that breeds asexually, is now spreading throughout Europe and Africa, and destroying the natives, as well as whole eco-systems.
You thought monsters were 30 storeys tall?  They’re not.

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An aquarium accident may have given this crayfish the DNA to take over the world

A 10-legged mutant creature that reproduces asexually, escapes from confinement in Germany, and quietly begins a global invasion. Within 2 decades, clones of the voracious animal spread through Europe and Africa, bringing devastation to ecosystems and threatening native species.

That appears to be the strange-but-true story of the marbled crayfish, an invasive freshwater species suspected to have been created through a reproductive accident in an aquarium around 1995. A new analysis of the crustacean’s genome supports this unlikely origin and may help explain how the animal has subsequently spread and adapted to so many new environments.

The crayfish’s unusual evolution could also suggest a strategy to tackle a more infamous clonal monster: cancer. “In many ways, the invasive expansion of [the marbled crayfish] is analogous to a cancerous lineage spreading asexually at the expense of its host,” says Jean-François Flot, an evolutionary genomicist at the Free University of Brussels who was not involved with the work.

The marbled crayfish is the only decapod crustacean that reproduces asexually, with the all-female species making clones of itself from eggs unfertilized by sperm. It has been thought to have arisen when two slough crayfish, imported from Florida for the aquarium trade in Germany, mated.

 

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv

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