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Virgin Snake Births Possible Clue To Ending Ovarian Cancer?

University of Tulsa

A Tulsa college professor says his research on snakes that have given birth without being impregnated could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

University of Tulsa assistant professor Warren Booth has written a study with some student researchers on the virgin birth, or parthenogenesis, of six pythons in Louisville, Kentucky.

While it's not known what causes a snake to be able to give birth without being impregnated, Booth tells the Tulsa World that his research someday could be applied to controlling cancerous ovarian cells in humans.

He says those cells essentially go through parthenogenesis when duplicating. Research into what triggers parthenogenesis in animals might lead to research into ways to control ovarian cells and keep them from becoming cancerous.

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