Lone Parents: Parthenogenesis in Sharks
July 27, 2009 - BioScience
By Wendee Holtcamp
In 2007, Dr. Demian Chapman of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University and colleagues published a scientific paper announcing a stunning discovery: the first-ever "virgin birth" in a shark. Just last year, he was part of the team to document only the second-ever shark virgin birth. Through a process known as parthenogenesis, the sharks produced offspring without mating and without any sperm.
In an informative, five-page article in the July/August issue of BioScience, writer Wendee Holtcamp profiles the entire discovery process, dating back to 2001, delves deep into the capacity of sharks to have virgin births, and explores whether this capacity is promising, or harmful, for the future of increasingly threatened shark populations. A substantial portion of the piece focuses on the work of Dr. Chapman, who is also assistant professor a at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
Read the full article with images in BioScience