Günter Vogt, a zoologist at Heidelberg University suggested that the DKFZ scientists take a look at the freshwater marbled crayfish which has now spread worldwide. In Madagascar, it reproduces so quickly that it poses a threat not just ecologically but also economically as the animals destroy rice crops. Marbled crayfish also occur in the lakes of southern Germany as well as in Sweden and Japan and are now even readily available in most aquarium and pet stores.
“As there are only females, I suspected that these crayfish might reproduce by cloning. If so, then these animals should all have identical DNA and the large variety in appearance and behaviour might be based entirely on epigenetic causes.”
Lyko was curious and started looking at these animals in the lab which confirmed the assumption. “We examined the DNA of 4 animals and found that they were completely identical, we did not detect a single genetic difference. The marbled crayfish is indeed a clone - millions of animals derive from a single original specimen.”
03 November 2015
forthcoming Biology Open paper on the speciation of Marmorkrebs continues to attract attention, with a very nice article on Medical XPress. It focuses on the prospects of using Marmorkrebs to study epigenetics, but includes the basic biology too: