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Hybrid life forms.

Alan McDougall

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I am perplexed as to why hybrids, can be bred very diverse sub- species, such as we see in the cat, dog, horse families etc.


I have been informed that we share 98% of our genetic code with Chimpanzees, and much the same with the other great apes.


Why then is it thought impossible for an ape human hybrid to be bred?.


This is a scientific question, so lets leave out the moral aspects of doing this in this thread

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It isn't impossible AFAIK, just unethical. There's a concept called reduced hybrid viability. Some hybrids are extremely dysfunctional and unhealthy that they can't even survive to a reproductive age.

In a documentary about Oliver the chimp, a scientist repeats a rumor that it was attempted through artificial insemination, and the resultant offspring was euthanized.



You are welcome to grab a female chimp and give it a whirl....


Maybe we'll get some much needed gene flow.

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It could turn out like a mule, superior in many ways than either parent...


I suppose there is reduced hybrid viability on the one hand, and inbreeding on the other.

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That would make it the other hand then- like he said.

Anyway, in most cases this is one reason why it's impossible



Can you elaborate on that, I see no reference to impossible or possible in your link.


We do have mules, but from everything I've read it looks like the human and chimp genomes are more dissimilar than that number above(generally dependent on methodology).


Can you elaborate on that as well?


So far all i can see that prevents a human chimp hybrid is whistling in the dark....

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Geneticists have come up with a variety of ways of calculating the percentages, which give different impressions about how similar chimpanzees and humans are. The 1.2% chimp-human distinction, for example, involves a measurement of only substitutions in the base building blocks of those genes that chimpanzees and humans share. A comparison of the entire genome, however, indicates that segments of DNA have also been deleted, duplicated over and over, or inserted from one part of the genome into another. When these differences are counted, there is an additional 4 to 5% distinction between the human and chimpanzee genomes.




Hard to say though when two species are simply too dissimilar. It was a long speciation event though with interbreeding occurring as 'recently' as an estimated 4 million years ago. Again a lot of these estimates depend on what is being examined.

Edited by Endy0816
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Humans have one pair fewer chromosomes than other apes, with ape chromosomes 2 and 4 fusing into a large chromosome (which contains remnants of the centromere and telomeres of the ancestral 2 and 4).[3] Having different numbers of chromosomes is not an absolute barrier to hybridization; similar mismatches are relatively common in existing species, a phenomenon known as chromosomal polymorphism.


All great apes have similar genetic structure. Chromosomes 6, 13, 19, 21, 22, and X are structurally the same in all great apes. Chromosomes 3, 11, 14, 15, 18, and 20 match between gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Chimps and humans match on 1, 2p, 2q, 5, 7–10, 12, 16, and Y as well. Some older references include Y as a match between gorillas, chimps, and humans, but chimpanzees (including bonobos) and humans have recently been found to share a large transposition from chromosome 1 to Y not found in other apes.[4]


This degree of chromosomal similarity is roughly equivalent to that found in equines. Interfertility of horses and donkeys is common, although sterility of the offspring (mules) is nearly universal (with only around 60 exceptions recorded in equine history[5]). Similar complexities and prevalent sterility pertain to horse–zebra hybrids, or zorses, whose chromosomal disparity is very wide, with horses typically having 32 chromosome pairs and zebras between 16 and 23 depending on species. In a direct parallel to the chimp–human case, the Przewalski's Horse (Equus przewalskii) with 33 chromosome pairs, and the domestic horse (E. caballus) with 32 pairs, have been found to be interfertile, and produce semi-fertile offspring: male hybrids can breed with female domestic horses.[6]


In 1977, researcher J. Michael Bedford[7] discovered that human sperm could penetrate the protective outer membranes of a gibbon egg. Bedford's paper also stated that human spermatozoa would not even attach to the zona surface of non-hominoid primates (baboon, rhesus monkey, and squirrel monkey), concluding that although the specificity of human spermatozoa is not confined to man alone, it is probably restricted to the Hominoidea.


In 2006, research suggested that after the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees diverged into two distinct lineages, inter-lineage sex was still sufficiently common that it produced fertile hybrids for around 1.2 million years after the initial split.[8]


Still, despite speculation, no human–chimpanzee cross has ever been confirmed.




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