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Virgin birth found in wild vertebrates
Snake
First time "evolutionary novelty" found in wild animals

Researchers in the US have found a form of virgin birth in wild vertebrates for the first time, after genetically analysing pregnant females from two snake species.

They found that North American pit vipers reproduced without a male in a phenomenon called facultative parthenogenesis, previously only found in captive species, and scientists say the findings could change our understanding of animal reproduction and vertebrate evolution.

Thought to be extremely rare for normally sexual species, asexual reproduction was first identified in domestic chickens and, in recent years, reported in a few snake, shark, lizard and bird species.

However, all such "virgin births" have occurred in captivity to females kept away from males, and have in general been considered "evolutionary novelties."

Professor Warren Booth, from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, worked with a team to investigate virgin births in copperhead and cottonmouth female pit-vipers, where males were present.

Professor Booth, lead author of the paper published in the Royal Society's Biological Letters, said of the: "I think the frequency is what really shocked us. That's between 2.5 and 5% of litters produced in these populations may be resulting from parthenogenesis."

He added: "That's quite remarkable for something that has been considered an evolutionary novelty."

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News Story 1
 Motivation comes from the top. No matter how hard you try to motivate your staff, you will struggle to succeed if they see de-motivation at the head of their practice.

A de-motivated or negative manager or owner can be a cancer in the practice spreading their poor attitude among their staff.

To read the full blog visit: www.vetcommunity.com  

News Shorts
Magna Barka receives stamp of approval

One of Britain's most important documents, the Magna Carta, turns 800 this year. To celebrate, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has launched the 'Magna Barka'.

The document sets out the rights of dogs and cats to a suitable environment, constant access to food and water, medical attention and regular vet visits, the ability to express normal behaviours and protection from fear and distress.

Two Battersea dogs, shar pei cross Magna and lurcher Carta, went to the Runnymede fields where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, to stamp their paw of approval on the Magna Barka.