Due to overfishing and narrowing habitats, the fish species Sturgeon is now critically threatened. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, in the recent past scientists debated whether these species can be bred in captivity. As a solution to this, a group of scientists of Hungary researched methods to save the extremely rare sturgeon from extinction. This fish is responsible for the world’s most delicate caviar.
The initial goal of this study was to reproduce asexually with the use of the sperm of the American paddlefish which would help a sturgeon to reproduce on its own. Rather than reproducing its own species, a hybrid fish dubbed the “struddlefish” was born.
The method of gynogenesis which was used in the process of hybridization makes use of the sperm of separate species that helps strengthen the specimen’s eggs. However, the DNA of the sperm had somehow transferred to the offspring.
Scientist Attila Mozsár of the Research Institute in Hungary for Fisheries and Aquaculture and who is also a part of this study stated that they never wanted to mess around with the process of hybridization. This result of hybridizing was completely unintentional, said Mozsár. These two were not supposed to hybridize and such hybridization has not worked in the past.
It is reported that these species share a similar ancestor of over 184 million years. Despite the fact that they belong to the same family of Acipenseriformes, they are greatly discrete in physical features, preferred territories, and feeding habits.
This has resulted in taking the scientists closer to their aims. It was also stated that if the “struddlefish” can depend on natural plankton in their habitats without the need to feed them, the carbon emissions will decrease. Also, their market value could end up being more precious than the creators of the fish ever imagined.
Both hybrid fish are currently at a research facility in Hungary living in peace and where there is no risk of them invading nonnative waters.