March 10 (UPI) -- A Tennessee zoo announced DNA testing on a trio of Komodo dragon siblings revealed their mother had laid their fertilized eggs without any help from a male.
The Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee said female Komodo dragon Charlie had laid the eggs that produced brothers Onyx, Jasper and Flint in August after being placed together with male Komodo dragon Kadal.
The zoo said staff were never able to confirm any instances Charlie and Kadal breeding, so they conducted a DNA test and discovered Kadal wasn't involved with the reproduction process at all.
The triplets were conceived through a process called parthenogenesis, which was first observed in Komodo dragons in 2006.
The process involves a polar body produced during the making of an egg cell that contains a duplicate copy of egg DNA. Scientists said the polar body normally shrivels and disappears after being created, but can sometimes act as a sperm in Komodo dragons and fertilize their eggs.
Only male babies can be produced via parthenogenesis, scientists said.