08 November 2007

An embryonic web site: Marmorkrebs.org

Marmorkrebs embryoEvery journey begins with a first step. This journey begins with the creation of Marmorkrebs.org. This site is intended to be a clearing house and resource for the Marmorkrebs research community, and to evangelize this remarkable animal to the wider research community.

Since this is the very first post, I have to answer the logical question of what Marmokrebs is. "Marmorkrebs" roughly means "marbled crayfish" in German, and is the informal name for a species of crayfish that showed up in the European pet trade in the 1990s. The remarkable feature of this species is that it is parthenogenetic: all individuals are females, and they reproduce essentially by cloning themselves. While parthenogenesis is found in many species, Marmorkrebs is the only known decapod crustacean to do so. This method of reproduction makes Marmorkrebs a very attractive animal for laboratory research. Plus, their mysterious origin makes them intriguing study in their own right.

Currently, the Marmorkrebs.org page is in a very nascent form. It contains a micro FAQ (one question), and what may be a comprehensive bibliography of scientific research on Marmorkrebs. I hope this page will become much, much bigger and more substantive. And, I hope, prettier.

Pictured: a Marmorkrebs embryo. Appropriate, don't you think?

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