City Desk

National Zoo Panda Could Need a Paternity Test

Panda suitor Gao Gao

If all goes according to plan, male National Zoo panda Tian Tian could soon be hearing the panda equivalent of Maury Povich's "You are not the father." That's because Saturday's insemination of female panda Mei Xiang involved the semen from not one but two potential panda papas.

While the first instance of insemination featured both frozen and fresh semen from Tian Tian, the second round of insemination featured from both semen from Tian and from San Diego Zoo panda Gao Gao.  Both samples used in the second round were collected and frozen in 2003.

If Tian Tian wants to father another panda (and given his past record, it's not at all clear that he does), he's in luck. A 2007 insemination of Mei Xiang with Gao Gao's semen didn't result in a cub.

But all this extra semen creates a question for the zoo if a cub does result from the insemination. According to a press release from the zoo, paternity tests will be performed if a cub is born.

Photo by San Diego Shooter used under a Creative Commons license

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