Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geckos: It's Not Always About Sex

Date:
June 9, 2005
Source:
Lewis & Clark College
Summary:
Australia's Bynoe's gecko -- a line of all-female geckos -- doesn't need sex or a male to reproduce and, contrary to expectations, these "Wonder Woman" geckos can run farther and faster than their sexually reproducing relatives.

Usually when you give up something, there’s a price to pay. Not so in the case of the Australian Bynoe’s gecko. This line of all-female geckos doesn’t need sex or a male to reproduce and, contrary to expectations, these “Wonder Woman” geckos can run farther and faster than their sexually reproducing relatives. The research findings are published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (Vol. 78, 3, May/June 2005) by Michael Kearney, Rebecca Wahl and Kellar Autumn.

“This is extraordinary,” said Autumn, associate professor of biology at Lewis & Clark College and member of the research team. “The traditional theory is that when a species gives up sex and reproduces through cloning, the offspring will have reduced performance.”

Parthenogenetic creatures are all-female species. Their “clonal” way of reproducing means that a mother’s babies are genetically identical to her. A further twist to the story is that many parthenogentic species, including the Bynoe’s gecko, evolved when two species crossed, or hybridized, said Michael Kearney. He is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Kearney’s interest in geckos started during his undergraduate years in Australia. As a Fulbright Graduate Fellow, Kearney studied with Autumn at Lewis & Clark College.

“This makes them a bit like mules, which are a cross between a horse and a donkey,” said Kearney. “Mules are very robust animals, but they cannot reproduce.” Kearney’s research suggested that the hybrid forms of Bynoe’s geckos could not only reproduce through parthenogenesis, but were “super tough,” just like a mule.

Kearney shipped Bynoe’s geckos from Sydney, Australia to Autumn’s research lab in Portland, Oregon. There, Kearney, Autumn and Rebecca Wahl put the lizards through their paces on a state-of-the-art lizard treadmill. As the geckos walked in the lab at Lewis & Clark, the researchers precisely controlled the lizard’s speed, body temperature, and measured how much energy the four-footers used to walk. Wahl, an alumna of Lewis & Clark, is now a doctoral student in wildlife biology at the University of Montana at Missoula.

“We found that the parthenogenetic forms were much better athletes than the sexual forms, clearly outpacing them on the treadmill,” said Kearney. “This was a bit of a surprise because a similar study of another kind of parthenogenetic lizard from the deserts of the United States showed the opposite pattern.”

Added Autumn: “If there was an Olympic team of Bynoe’s geckos, there wouldn’t be a single male on it. These geckos outperform their sexual relatives by 50 percent. They are the ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ of the lizard world.”

The Fulbright exchange program supported the team’s research.

###

NOTE: Article: “Increased Capacity for Sustained Locomotion at Low Temperature in Parthenogenetic Geckos of Hybrid Origin” Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 78(3), May/June 2005.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lewis & Clark College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lewis & Clark College. "Geckos: It's Not Always About Sex." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050608053415.htm>.
Lewis & Clark College. (2005, June 9). Geckos: It's Not Always About Sex. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050608053415.htm
Lewis & Clark College. "Geckos: It's Not Always About Sex." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050608053415.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins