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Gender, paternity of panda revealed

Mei Xiang snuggled her 2-week-old cub on Thursday. Zoo officials announced that the cub is female.

Smithsonian National Zoo via Reuters

Mei Xiang snuggled her 2-week-old cub on Thursday. Zoo officials announced that the cub is female.

WASHINGTON — The panda paternity mystery is solved. The father of the National Zoo’s newborn giant panda cub is Tian Tian, zoo officials announced Thursday.

Officials also revealed that the cub, born Aug. 23, is female and that the stillborn cub delivered one day later was also a girl sired by Tian Tian.

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The cubs were fraternal twins, the zoo said.

Scientists at the zoo used two tests that analyzed fragments of the zinc finger protein gene to confirm the genders of the cubs, according to officials.

The cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, was artificially inseminated in March with sperm from two giant pandas — the National Zoo’s Tian Tian and the San Diego Zoo’s Gao Gao.

Tian Tian, who was born in captivity in China, is a hefty 264 pounds but has been a relatively ineffective breeder with poor natural technique, zoo experts have said.

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