Cloning before cloning was cool
The Asian longhorned tick is native to East Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand. It had not previously been found in the United States prior to its discovery on a farm in New Jersey in the fall of 2017.
This tick is a major concern as it reproduces via parthenogenesis, which means that the female does not need a male in order to reproduce. She can start laying eggs, which are genetic clones, that can overwhelm the host in very large numbers, says Tim McDermott, DVM, Ohio State University Extension educator.
The tick continues to spread rapidly. It has been positively identified in 13 states including Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Arkansas, Connecticut, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The tick was implicated in the spread of the protozoan parasite Theileria in cattle in Virginia. Theileriosis is a disease in cattle similar to malaria that infects humans.
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