Parasitic sex cells wtf yay?

I’m reading a review about asexual reproduction in colonial sea squirts (Brown and Swalla, 2012). This isn’t really the place I expected to stumble on something that made me giggle and whisper “holy fuck” at the same time, but I was totally wrong. Apparently, some squirt colonies can fuse and create a single “chimaera” colony. And then one member’s germ cells can take over the other’s gonads. Because these squirts keep some germ cells in their blood, so they can go wherever the hell they want in the whole colony. Like that poor sod’s testicles.

It seems everything remotely related to sex in the animal kingdom is at least a little bit kinky.

Also, sea squirts are weird, and this is Captain Obvious speaking.

(Must resist temptation to immediately dive into PubMed for articles on germline parasitism. I have a ton of reading to do that’s actually relevant to my work…)

(P.S.: I wonder if tagging this post “sex” will trigger a giant traffic spike. Consider this an experiment!)



Brown FD, Swalla BJ (2012) Evolution and development of budding by stem cells: ascidian coloniality as a case study. Developmental Biology 369:151-162

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