Local scientist featured on Science Friday! Our newest addition to the biology discipline, Rob Denton, appeared on SciFri for his work on unisexual salamanders. This species only has females — they don’t need male chromosomes to reproduce. However, they do need sperm to initiate development, so they wander about the ponds picking up sperm from alien species to trigger their own egg cells.
Their other cool trick is that, although they don’t need that sperm’s chromosome content to make babies, they will sometimes incorporate a few chromosomes from alien species on top of their own, so that maybe they can acquire a few locally adapted genes. It’s cool stuff, but watch the video to get the full story.