Scientists Accidentally Create Stunning Fish Hybrid

“Be careful what you wish for!”, says an old proverb. Manipulating genetic material for creating specific and related structures is not something entirely new. A team of researchers from Hungary had been using gynogenesis, which is a method of asexual reproduction where sperm doesn’t imply the contribution of DNA for completion.

The outcome was stunning: a hybrid offspring of the Russian sturgeon and American paddlefish. The sperm belonging to paddlefish could incredibly fertilize the sturgeon eggs. The hybridization worked, and scientists weren’t even aware of that.

The sturddlefish enters the scene

Attila Mozsár from the Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hungary and other scientists are the ones who created the new fish hybrid. Hybridized fish got hatched from the eggs, and the scientists involved separated them into two groups.

The achievement marked the first successful hybridization of the two species — Russian sturgeon (aka Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and American paddlefish (aka Polyodon spathula) — and between members belonging to the Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae families.

Solomon David, who is an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, emphasizes the weirdness of the study:

I did a double-take when I saw it,

I just didn’t believe it. I thought, hybridization between sturgeon and paddlefish? There’s no way.

Paddlefish are basal Chondrostean and also ray-finned fish. They are referred to as “primitive fish” because of their evolution with few morphological changes since the earliest fossils of the Early Cretaceous.

On the other hand, Sturgeon is the common name for around 27 species of fish that belong to the family Acipenseridae. The earliest fossils date to the Late Cretaceous. However, the first sturgeons are descended from even earlier acipenseriform fishes who date way back to the Triassic period – meaning about 245 to 208 million years ago.

The new findings were revealed in a study published in the scientific journal Genes.

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