Graduate student using genetics to find out: Who's the daddy (or daddies)?
May 04, 2011
PROUD MOTHER SHARK AND HER 20 PUPS: New video documented by a graduate student researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego features a litter of 20 leopard sharks born April 19 inside the Scripps Experimental Aquarium. Each pup is about eight inches long at the moment but will grow to up to six feet in length as adults. Scripps graduate student Andy Nosal is conducting genetic research on leopard sharks, which congregate in La Jolla, Calif., between mid-spring and mid-autumn. Because a single litter can have multiple fathers, Nosal will conduct paternity tests on each of the newborn sharks (not unlike genetic testing in humans) as part of his doctoral studies to determine how many different male leopard sharks fathered the 20 pups. The younglings, which are consuming a fine dining menu of bay scallops, eventually will be released into the wild. The four-and-a-half-foot mother shark is doing fine following the birth, which culminated a pregnancy that can last up to 12 months for leopard sharks. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!
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About Scripps Institution of Oceanography Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of about 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $170 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates robotic networks and one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 425,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu.