Tuesday, 3 April 2012

World’s first Hybrid Sharks Discovered


World’s first Hybrid Sharks Discovered
Last week scientists discovered more than 57 hybrid sharks off Australia’s East Coast. The hybrid cross has occurred between the common blacktip shark (Carcharhinus tilstoni) and the Australian blacktip shark (C. limbatus). These species are related, however, differ in size and are genetically distinct. (Morgan, J 2012) Hybridization is the mating and crossing between two true-breeding varieties. In animals, most cases the hybrid offspring infertile and sterile. One example is the hybrid offspring of a donkey and a horse, a mule. The mule is stronger and robust, but sterile. (Campbell, N & Reece, J, Meyers)
Hybridisation has been known to occur among many species, yet this is the first known occurrence among sharks. This recent discovery has brought to concern whether this will allow the sharks to adapt to environmental changes and whether this will be genetically advantageous for the sharks.
Genetic testing and body measurements were carried out by scientists, which then led to the discovery of the 57 hybrid sharks. They were found in five locations in a 2,000 kilometre stretch from northern New South Whales to far northern Queensland. (Morgan, J 2012) The discovered hybrids may prove to be stronger than the two pure breeds and could possibly replace the parent species all together. Yet at this stage it is only known that they can reproduce and that there are multiple generations of hybrids.
It is believed that the hybridisation will allow the sharks to adapt to environmental changes due to the fact that the smaller Australian blacktip prefers warmer tropical waters in the north, while the larger common blacktip inhabits cooler sub-tropical waters along the south-east Australian coastline. (Morgan, J 2012) These environmental changes include climate change, which scientists believe the sharks are interbreeding to adapt and cope with it.
This extraordinary discovery may just affect sharks around the world and that there is still a lot more to discover about these ocean predators.
Links :
World-first hybrid sharks found off Australia - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2012. World-first hybrid sharks found off Australia - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-03/hybrid-sharks-found-off-australia/3757226. [Accessed 18 March 2012].
Hybrid sharks found in Australian waters | Space, Military and Medicine | News.com.au. 2012. Hybrid sharks found in Australian waters | Space, Military and Medicine | News.com.au. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/hybrid-sharks-found-in-australian-waters/story-fn5fsgyc-1226235304370. [Accessed 18 March 2012].
Morgan, J. World-first discovery of hybrid sharks off Australia's east coast - UQ News Online - The University of Queensland. 2012. World-first discovery of hybrid sharks off Australia's east coast - UQ News Online - The University of Queensland. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uq.edu.au/news/?article=24232. [Accessed 18 March 2012].
World's first hybrid shark is found off Australia - and interbreeding could make them stronger | Mail Online. 2012. World's first hybrid shark is found off Australia - and interbreeding could make them stronger | Mail Online. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2081647/Worlds-hybrid-shark-Australia--interbreeding-make-stronger.html. [Accessed 18 March 2012].
Campbell, N & Reece, J, Meyers, N 2006. Biology Seventh Edition, Australian Version. 7th Edn. Pearsons Education Australia, Frenchs Forest.
Sara Perrott s4274840

No comments:

Post a Comment