As many know, in wildlife there are 2main sexes that differ in primary sexual characteristics. In addition to them, hermaphrodites are often found in nature, combining the characteristics of both sexes in their body. So, researchers from California were able to discover eight new types of unusual worms that carry three different sexes at once and are able to live in places with an exorbitant amount of arsenic.
Does third nature exist in nature?
Exploring Mono Lake, located in California,American researchers have discovered unusual worms that can live in an aggressive chemical environment. The California lake, which has become the subject of study, has an extremely unusual composition: its waters are saturated with salts, alkalis, and also toxic compounds of arsenic. Such a composition makes Lake Mono practically uninhabited, since only some algae and some extremophilic bacteria can inhabit such a toxic environment.
In order to better understand hypotheticalthe processes of the possible formation of life on Mars, biologists conducted a series of experiments that allowed them to find strange nematodes that carry signs of the presence of three sexes at once. So, in addition to “standard” males and females, hermaphrodites were found among the worms, which can not only continue their own genus without the participation of a partner, but also leave offspring by mating with a representative of any gender.
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Despite the fact that hermaphrodites possessa unique opportunity to leave offspring in any life scenario, hermaphroditism has a number of disadvantages. So, self-fertilizing hermaphrodites do not transmit the genetic diversity observed in pairs created by crossing with representatives of the other sex. For worms, this often leads to delays in the larval stage, which adds an entire day to puberty. Given the short life cycle of nematodes, the delay in larval development can lead to negative consequences when creating offspring of the second generation.
Nematodes from Mono Lake can be consideredtruly unique in a number of distinguishing features. It is known that the creatures found are largely different from the other inhabitants of the “arsenic” lake. On the one hand, nematodes can live in an extremely extreme environment, exceeding the norm of arsenic content by several thousand times; on the other hand, the detected species of nematodes can easily adapt to life in a normal environment. Such an incredible adaptability suggests that nematodes from Lake Mono were able to acquire special resistance to the effects of a large number of stimuli.
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Experts believe that the study of DNAfound in the lake of creatures, can bring practical benefits for humans. So, thanks to deciphering the mechanisms of nematode resistance, a person could create unique drugs that can quickly purify drinking water from arsenic or increase the effect of drugs aimed at cleansing the body of toxic substances.