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Science File

All-Female Mites Found in Tropics

July 02, 2001|From Times staff and wire reports

The conventional idea that most living organisms require two parents has been challenged by Dutch and Czech researchers, who have found a species that has only mothers. They report in the June 29 Science that a species of tropical mite (Brevipalpus phoenicius) consists entirely of females with only one set of genetic material. Most animals have two sets, one from each parent. The male of the mite species is all but nonexistent. A symbiotic bacterium infects the vast majority of the mites and somehow ensures that any potential males are born female.

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