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Káldy et al., Genes 2020, 11(7), 753; (CC BY)

Scientists accidentally create unlikely fish hybrid

You may be familiar with animal hybrids like the mule—a cross between a female horse and male donkey—or a liger—the enormous offspring of a female tiger and male lion. Now, The New York Times reports that Hungarian scientists have created a new animal hybrid when sperm from the American paddlefish and eggs from the Russian sturgeon were mixed in the lab. Nicknamed the “sturddlefish” by the internet, the existence of these hybrids seems exceedingly unlikely, considering the two parental species shared a common ancestor more than 184 million years ago. That is nearly twice the divergence time between humans and mice. The sturddlefish shares the carnivorous appetite of its mother, and some have a smaller version of their filter-feeding father’s elongated nose, researchers report this month in Genes. They assume these fish are sterile, like many other humanmade hybrids, and do not plan to make any more.

*Correction, 23 July, 1 p.m.: This story has been updated to make it clearer that the scientists intentionally mixed the two species eggs and sperm, but did not expect successful egg fertilization.

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