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Scientists accidentally create new fish ‘hybrid’ from two endangered species

Scientists in Hungary accidentally created the "sturddlefish." It's a new species of fish mixed between the American Paddlefish and the Russian Sturgeon, both endangered species.
(a) Yearlings of A. gueldenstaedtii and (b) their hybrids: (c) typical LH hybrid, (d) typical...
(a) Yearlings of A. gueldenstaedtii and (b) their hybrids: (c) typical LH hybrid, (d) typical SH hybrid of P. spathula.(GENES)
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 10:09 PM EDT
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(WVLT/CBS) -- CBS News reports that scientists in Hungary accidentally created the “sturddlefish.” It’s a new species of fish mixed between the American Paddlefish and the Russian Sturgeon, both endangered species.

According to a study published in the journal Genes, researchers at Hungary’s National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture said that they were not trying to create a new fish when the sturddlefish was born. They wanted to know if the two species could be bred in captivity, but they were stunned when the offspring grew into adulthood.

“This was the first successful hybridization between these two species and between members of the family Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae,” researchers wrote.

Researchers used gynogenesis, a method of asexual reproduction that requires the presence of sperm but not the actual contribution of its DNA, scientists said they accidentally used paddlefish sperm to fertilize sturgeon eggs and created hundreds of offspring.

"We never wanted to play around with hybridization," co-author Dr. Attila Mozsár told The New York Times. "It was absolutely unintentional."

CBS reported that American Paddlefish and the Russian Sturgeon are critically endangered and would not be able to successfully reproduce in the wild. Both are considered “living fossils” because they have not evolved much over a long period of time. Researchers believe their last common ancestor dates back as far as 184 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Researchers said the hybrid fish exhibited traits from both species.

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