Sunday, December 14, 2014

San Diego SeaWorld releases photos of first test-tube penguin

(Now if we can just get them to release the orcas!) 
By Marcus Hondro   
The first photos of the first test-tube penguin, born from an artificial insemination method never before used with penguins, have been released by SeaWorld San Diego. The baby, not yet named but 12 weeks old, looks pretty much like any other penguin.

Penguin birthed from thawed sperm
Why birth a Magellanic penguin from artificial insemination? Apparently it's all about education and learning about how penguins reproduce. That's the word from SeaWorld San Diego on why the penguin to date known only as '184' was brought into existence using frozen-then-thawed sperm. “The goal of our research center is to study a species’ reproductive biology," the head of SeaWorld's reproductive center, Dr. Justine O’Brian, said. "To learn as much as we can about that and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well."

Penguin 184 mixes into population There appear to be no health issues with 184, a female. NBC San Diego News 7 reported she began life being fed a mixture of "ground herring fillets, krill, vitamins, minerals and water" by biologists but has now moved on to eating fish on her own.

She's also doing what the natural-born penguins are doing: hanging out with other baby penguins. There is, SeaWorld said, no difference to note between the penguin created from artificial insemination and all of the Penguins at SeaWorld created from a Mom and Dad penguin having sex. Dr. O'Brian said the frozen-then-thawed method of bringing penguin 184 to life is "a technique that has never been performed successfully in any penguin species."

 Now if only they would get on with naming 184. Testy? Freezey?


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