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Genetic Compatibilty


Dec
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Ok, here goes,

 

Hi, as you can probably see my name's Dec, I'm 13, and this is my first post, now, to the question.

 

I'm currently in the process or writing a novel, and even though I'm quite gifted in terms of intelligence, I needed a bit more than common sense and, lets say, maybe a GCSE level understanding of science (No modesty here.) to answer this question. In my novel, two different species were originally descended from a common ancestor, but not in a slow-process such as evolution, now one individual of each species at some point in the distant future, come together and reproduce, and "create" my main character, my question is, is this possible, because if it is I'd like to have an explanation of some kind for it. Another question I have is, is it possible for each species to carry a gene that when brought together, enabled the use of dormant or vestigial organs (correct me if i'm wrong, I wasn't sure if vestigial was the right word) which would otherwise be useless?

 

As you can see I have a massively overactive imagination but I also like to have explanations for things, so thank you in advance or your answers.

 

Thanks,

 

Dec

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  • 1 month later...

Hm...I'm no genetics genius...In a scale from one to ten, I'd probably be a three...But, anyways. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the two species would have to have the same number of chromosomes in order to reproduce effectively. But, since they came from a common ancestor, then they probably have similar DNA, and it might be possible. For example, take the liger. The lion and tiger would have had to have the same number of chromosomes in order for the offspring to survive properly. So, they would have to have similar DNA. But, don't forget that there is a fine line to this. Make them too close, and the offspring could easily be infected by serious diseases. Not too far, not too close.

 

As for your second question, it is most likely possible, if the dormant (dormant would be a better word if it had the potential to work again) organ was originally used, but became so after not needing it. I'm not explaining it properly. Like, for example, the appendix. It was once a working organ(?) once, but became dormant after not being needed. If the organ in your novel was once working, then the two species would have the potential gene to enable the organ, because their ancestors already had it and passed it down to their offspring, if interbreeding had been at play. Sigh. This is slightly troublesome, since that would mean that that species would be in risk of disease...

 

So, all in all, it would be possible, but you'd have all these kinks and bumps along the way. Or maybe I'm just being too complicated. I don't know. Sorry for making this so long. As I said before, I'm not genetics expert. Hope this helps you out, anyways...

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Well, it depends a bit on how you define the process or the history of your species. Species in the classical sense are reproducibly separated, i.e. they usually do not create offspring that can reproduce. However, if you are talking that your two populations are just somehow separated, there is no immediate mechanism that would allow them create viable offspring. In the classical terminology they would not be considered different species, though.

 

Regarding the second part, I cannot think of any examples off the top of my head. Normally it is unlikely that a given organ can become vestigial in one population and remain functional in another without major changes in the genetic makeup, which in turn would inhibit reproduction. But maybe some minor changes (i.e. not whole organs) are possible. Like for instance skin between the fingers.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the two species would have to have the same number of chromosomes in order to reproduce effectively. . . . . .For example, take the liger. The lion and tiger would have had to have the same number of chromosomes in order for the offspring to survive properly.

 

Actually, not true. A horse has 64 chromosomes and a Donkey has 62. They can mate and produce a hybrid. . .a mule. Mules have 63 chromosomes. It’s the odd number of chromosomes that makes most mules sterile.

 

There are well documented (but rare) cases of female mules (mollies) giving birth to foals. Genetic testing has even confirmed that the molly was the mom. So the offspring aren’t necessarily sterile.

 

Besides, who says the character can’t be a sterile hybrid? As for the mechanism behind the character’s unique parentage. . .a mislabeled vial in an in vitro fertilization clinic could do it. Mad scientist experimenting to see if the two species were viable. Two members of different species stranded on a desert island. . .the list goes on.

 

And yes, any hybrid can have traits not present in either parent. Ligers are the largest cats in the world, weighing much more than either parent. Vestigial organs in both can possibly be reactivated, though it would be tricky.

 

So have at it, Dec. Have fun with it.

 

Bill Wolfe

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Ok, here goes,

 

 

Hi, as you can probably see my name's Dec, I'm 13, and this is my first post, now, to the question.

 

 

I'm currently in the process or writing a novel, and even though I'm quite gifted in terms of intelligence, I needed a bit more than common sense and, lets say, maybe a GCSE level understanding of science (No modesty here.) to answer this question. In my novel, two different species were originally descended from a common ancestor, but not in a slow-process such as evolution, now one individual of each species at some point in the distant future, come together and reproduce, and "create" my main character, my question is, is this possible, because if it is I'd like to have an explanation of some kind for it. Another question I have is, is it possible for each species to carry a gene that when brought together, enabled the use of dormant or vestigial organs (correct me if i'm wrong, I wasn't sure if vestigial was the right word) which would otherwise be useless?

 

 

As you can see I have a massively overactive imagination but I also like to have explanations for things, so thank you in advance or your answers.

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

Dec

 

I presume that in your scenario these two species are substantially different in in form. That being the case, it is not possible primarily because funtional systems require multitudes of coordinating systems to perform these functions. The gene expression and regulation and developmental controls must be specifically matched to the systems being constructed and operated. the cell infrastructure must also match so when you throw two radically different systems together without redesigning the infrastructure and control system, it will fail.

 

The same issues would apply to supposedly dormant components. though in life there are very few such systems despite what you might hear.

 

Your novel is fiction so have fun with it and don't worry about whether or not it is actually realistic.

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There are many examples of natural interspecific hybrids:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_%28biology%29

 

"Species" traditionally means a population that is capable of interbreeding, but the realities of evolution make such a definition no better than a general rule of thumb. Such biological categories are inherently fuzzy. When two populations split, they don't become different species at one precise moment in time, but gradually. The exact cutoff is necessarily fairly arbitrary.

 

Another example is something like a ring species, where population A can reproduce with population B and B can reproduce with C, but A cannot reproduce with C. Are A + B + C one "species?"

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  • 7 months later...

Actually, not true. A horse has 64 chromosomes and a Donkey has 62. They can mate and produce a hybrid. . .a mule. Mules have 63 chromosomes. It’s the odd number of chromosomes that makes most mules sterile.

 

There are well documented (but rare) cases of female mules (mollies) giving birth to foals. Genetic testing has even confirmed that the molly was the mom. So the offspring aren’t necessarily sterile.

 

Besides, who says the character can’t be a sterile hybrid? As for the mechanism behind the character’s unique parentage. . .a mislabeled vial in an in vitro fertilization clinic could do it. Mad scientist experimenting to see if the two species were viable. Two members of different species stranded on a desert island. . .the list goes on.

 

True. That's why I said that I was not good at genetics....Oh, well. I guess that's the reason they have different dog and cat breeds, isn't it....

 

I'm only in high school. *sigh* Interesting theory.

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