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www.wmfd.com - For the thousands of people who visit SeaWorld's PenguinEncounter in San Diego every day, it is an amazing experience, but what they may not realize is they're also witnessing an amazing scientific breakthrough. }}" />

   
 
 
First Penguin Hatched By Artificial Insemination In San Dieg
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Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
  Originally Published on: 8/17/2014

For the thousands of people who visit SeaWorld's PenguinEncounter in San Diego every day, it is an amazing experience. But what they may not realize is they're also witnessing an amazing scientific breakthrough. "This right here is Magellan Number 184," says a SeaWorld assistant. This adorable deathered phenom, now just 12 weeks old, is one of the hundreds of birds who've hatched here at SeaWorld over the years. "Magellan 184 began as a humble egg in our incubators," says the SeaWorld assistant. So many, they have numbers instead of names. "184 grew up like any other bird," says the assistant. But how this majestic Magellan penguin came to be, sets her apart from all the rest. "This is a very historic Magellan actually," says the assistant. Historic, because 184 is the first of any penguin species to be produced through artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. "We keep these vials of semen here," says Dr. Justine O'Brien of the SeaWorld Reproductive Research Center. A revolutionary technique pioneered here at the SeaWorld Reproductive research Center. "The semen is drawn up this catheter into the syringe," says Dr. O'Brien. Cutting edge reproductive technology. "All we're doing is helping the sperm get further along into that position for fertilization," says Dr. O'Brien. That is also making major strikes in conservation efforts and potentially helping threatened and endangered species in the wild. "Artificial insemination and semen preservation allows us to maximize the genetic diversity of these populations and that means that they remain healthy and stable into the future," says Dr. O'Brien. Ensuring future generations of incredible creatures like these. "They're amazing" exclaimed a SeaWorld visitor. An amazing miracle of nature, with some awe-inspiring assistance from science and technology. "You could not tell if she is from frozen thawed or fresh chilled semen or even from natural breeding," says Dr. O'Brien. "She's happy and healthy and that's what we want to see."

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