Cloned crawfish are invading Europe. While people in Louisiana may not see that as a problem, it has local biologist concerned.
According to a report by the New York Times, scientists have been looking into this as far back as 2003. A team sequenced the DNA of crawfish found in Germany and discovered that somehow a mutated female crawfish was able to clone itself asexually, that is without males. And now its clones can keep laying eggs and breeding more clones.
The mutated marbled crawfish is now considered its own species, called Procambarus virginalis, and is closely related to a crawfish species found in the Satilla River in Florida and Georgia.
Eyewitness News asked University of New Orleans Biology Professor Simon Lailveau about what would happen if this made its way back to the Americas.
"There is a problem with asexual reproduction in the long term, it works out really well in the short term because the populations can grow very rapidly, the issue when sex isn't happening you have less opportunity for variation within a species," Lailvaux said.
Essentially the clones could have weaker genetic make-up, and the fast-breeding could threaten native species.
As for tasty, Professor Lailvaux says it may be time for Europeans to have some more crawfish boils, but they are edible.