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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
>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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