parthanogenesis

Jim Owens jow at helix.nih.gov
Thu Oct 14 16:47:39 EST 1993


In article <28v7ou$f8d at news.u.washington.edu> John Reed,
johnreed at stein1.u.washington.edu writes:
>I am interest in knowing whether parthanogenesis has evolved in the male 
>sex of any species.  I would presume not, for evolutionary reasons, but
I 
>would like to know for sure.  I would also like to know other peoples 

Stand by for a statement from the village idiot:

I think the reason parthenogenesis is noted only in females is
linguistic.  Parthenogenesis was by definition reserved for females when
I was a lad.  In males it was called androgenesis.  My memory is a bit
dim on this because the article I am recalling was read about 35 years
ago.  I cannot recall if "androgenesis" was just a linguistic alternative
to parthenogenesis.

Parthenogenesis is derived from the Greek for "virgin birth."  I never
took classical Greek and do not have access to a Greek grammer text, but
my guess is that parthenos is feminine.  The Parthenon was the temple
devoted to the virgin-goddess Athena.

A quick check with a very large Webster's in a lab downstairs has
confirmed my idea about parthenos being a word that applied to maidens. 
However, androgenesis is defined as "male parthenogenesis" and is
contrasted with gynogenesis as the female form of parthenogenesis.  You
learn something everyday!

Jim Owens
_______________________________________________________
The Secretary will deny any connection to me if I am caught.



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