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A Mule Thing

Since mules are supposed to be sterile, much Broohaha is being made over one that gave birth to a foal in Oulmes, Morocco. (I despeartely want to go to Morocco. I love the tapestries and furniture.) Horses have 64 chromosomes and donkeys have 62, when the two mate, the resulting mule is left with 63, an uneven number. Since these can't divide evenly into pairs, a mule shouldn't be able to reproduce.

"Those tests confirmed that the mother is a mule with each of her blood groups made up of both horse and donkey alleles, or genetic material - in other words she is a true equine/asinine hybrid," veterinary director Gigi Kay told BBC News Online. "It shows that the foal inherited a mixture of horse and donkey chromosomes via the mother's ovum."

John Pycock, if that is indeed his real name, is a specialist in equine reproduction at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He said a birth like this would be "astounding" and he's very skeptical about it. He also mentioned that mules have given birth to embryos transplanted into the womb artificially.

Genetically, the foal is about a quarter horse and three quarters donkey.


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