DNA revealed: Blue whales mate with other species

DNA revealed: Blue whales mate with other species

Blue whales mate and reproduce with fin whales. Turns out the hybrid whale has an easier time giving birth to its young than scientists thought.

It can breed with the blue whale.

Fin whale DNA has been found in blue whales

The researchers behind A New study The discovery, published in the journal Conservation Genetics, was made by looking at DNA in blue whales.

They analyzed genetic material from the North Atlantic blue whale for signs of inbreeding, which could threaten the species. In all the blue whales examined, they found DNA from fin whales: about 3.5% of the total whale DNA came from fin whales.

It is not new to scientists that blue whales and fin whales can mate and give birth to whale hybrids. The blue whale weighs about 85 tons more than the fin whale, so its young resemble a large fin whale. According to the New York Times.

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Unusual for hybrids

Until 2018, it was not known that hybrid whales could give birth to young, as hybrid whales in the animal world often cannot. One Study from 2018 However, what was published in the journal Science shows that some hybrid species can interbreed with blue whales.

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No fin whales have been found to contain DNA from blue whales. This suggests that fin whales have no opportunity or desire to mate with hybrid whales.

There is currently no evidence that this behavior negatively affects blue whales. Mark Engstrom, co-author of the study and an environmental geneticist at the University of Toronto, says he is concerned it will spread and thus make whales less resilient to climate change. To Live Science.

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So far, we have not seen this phenomenon anywhere other than the North Atlantic.

© Videnskab.dk. Translated by Trine Andreasen for forskning.no. is reading Original status on videnskab.dk here.

(the case It was first published in Norwegian on Forskning.no).

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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