It is always amazing to see how God has designed reproductive systems so that living things can continue to reproduce under all kinds of environmental conditions.  How do you produce offspring when there are no males around?  In the case of the Komodo dragon, the answer is that the females have the capacity to experience virgin birth.

Science News (December 23 & 30, 2006, page 403) reports on Komodos that have been able to reproduce even though there are no males available to fertilize the females.  What happened was female Komodos that had never been with a male laid eggs at the Chester Zoo in London, and to everyone's surprise the eggs hatched producing healthy baby Komodos.  Many reptiles can store sperm for long periods of time, but laboratory tests show that the mother was indeed the sole parent.

The ability of some higher forms of life to switch to asexual reproduction when no males are around is a huge surprise to most scientists.  There are some fish that can do this that we have discussed in this column in the past, and this has also been observed in turkeys.  The problem is that the doubling of sex chromosomes in this method of reproduction produces only males--which shows great wisdom in the natural world.  It allows a population of females with no males present to repopulate the number of males.  In turkeys it was not useful for poultry growers because male turkeys are less desirable economically than females.

Scientists have concerns about genetic diversity in this method of reproduction, but it is another example of the incredible wisdom and design built into living things which favors life developing and flourishing in all kinds of environments all over the planet.

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