Hungarian Scientists have accidentally made an impossible thing possible. In May the Hungarian scientists announced in the journal Genes that they have accidentally created a hybrid fish of two endangered species which they have dubbed the sturddlefish. There are about 100 hybrids now and they have no plans to create more.
It so happened that Russian sturgeons are critically endangered and also economically important species and they can grow up to 7 feet long and American paddlefish are too large growing up to 8.5 feet long. According to times species last shared a common ancestor 184 million years ago. The researchers were trying to breed the Russian sturgeon in captivity through the process called gynogenesis where a sperm triggers egg development but fails to fuse the egg’s nucleus .
The researchers were using the American paddlefish sperm for the process but something unexpected happened. The sperm and the egg fused, resulting in offspring with both sturgeon and paddlefish genes and the resulting sturddlefish hatched by the hundreds and about 100 survive now. Some are 50-50 mixture of sturgeon and paddlefish genes and some are far more sturgeon like. All are carnivores.
Generally, most hybrid species can not have offsprings of their own, the sturddlefish is probably no exception.
Moxsar and his colleagues have planned to take care of the fish but they assured that they would not be creating more since it could outcompete native sturgeon in the wild and worsen the sturgeon’s chances of survival.
Soloman David an aquatic ecologist said ” These living fossil fishes have extremely slow evolutionary rates so what might seem like a long time to us is not as long time to them”
Attila Mozsar a senior researcher at Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hungary said, “We never wanted to play around with hybridization, it was absolutely unintentional.”