Scientists Accidentally Create New Fish Species In Attempt To Save Sturgeon

A group of Hungarian aquatic scientists were looking for ways to save the Russian Sturgeon – a fish responsible for some of the world’s finest caviar from extinction. They originally set out to genetically modify the critically endangered fish so that it could reproduce asexually.

The scientists brought together the American paddlefish which dwells in the Mississippi River Basin, and the Russian sturgeon which inhabits Russian rivers. The Russian sturgeon is considered extremely valuable for its roe, or eggs. Both species are threatened by shrinking habitats and overfishing. These researchers wanted to encourage the sturgeon to reproduce through gynogenesis, which uses the treated sperm of another species to coax the specimen’s eggs to develop. In gynogenesis, the DNA of the sperm specimen isn’t supposed to transfer to the offspring, but in this case it did.
According to CNN, there were two types of hybrid fish that occurred as a result: One of them is one part paddlefish, two parts sturgeon, and the other is one part paddlefish, four parts sturgeon. Most of them, between 62% to 74%, survived one month after hatching.

Nicknamed the “sturddlefish,” the new hybrids could end up being more valuable for their caviar.

For now, though, the hybrids live peacefully at a research facility in Hungary, where there’s no risk they’ll invade non-native waters.