LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Zoo is seeking to close the Komodo dragon gender gap.
The population of 123 of the endangered giant lizards in the U.S. is heavily male dominated, outnumbering females 71 to 46 due to males commonly killing females in captivity and deaths from pregnancy complications. Six more are of undetermined sex.
But the Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that the zoo is using a DNA test first developed for bird eggs to discover which of the baseball-sized Komodo eggs are females so they can be incubated and hatched.
The zoo's reptile curator Ian Recchio says gender balance would allow for a self-sustaining and genetically diverse dragon population.
Only about 2,000 Komodos dragons remain in the wild on five small islands in Indonesia.
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