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You are watching: How many chromosomes does a tiger have


This concern originally appeared on Quora. By Tracey Bryan, Aussie Mum, Fascinated by genetics


In countless cases, it"s logistically impossible for the two types to breed; shot and imagine a giraffe and also a dolphin, for example. Even if one could get the gametes (reproductive cells, e.g. Egg and sperm in humans) together, no fertilization would certainly take place.


Eggs have actually barriers about them containing specific proteins, and also in order because that a sperm to be able to fertilize the egg, the sperm should have corresponding enzymes the are qualified of penetrating this barrier. You can think of it like a "lock and key." just sperm that the same species have the exactly "key" to permit their DNA to it is in transferred right into the egg and allow fertilization come occur.


This classification covers a quite large spectrum, but embraces every one of the choices between fertilization emerging but no subsequent cell division happening (ie continuing to be a solitary cell zygote), through to fertilization happening and a "nearly normal" but sterile adult resulting, together is the situation with a liger. The variable that determines whereby on this spectrum the hybrid will autumn is the level of hereditary similarity the the parents, an especially with for to just how the crucial functional genes are allocated come chromosomes.


If two types have similar functions allocated similarly, come the same complement of chromosomes, friend are much more likely to finish up v a viable adult. The higher the distinction in variety of chromosomes, and the circulation of necessary gene features on those chromosomes, the much less likely the the zygote will be viable.


If two species can create a hybrid the is fertile, climate they"re actually, by definition, not different species.


Fertility is the part of the procedure that requires the greatest level of genetic similarity due to the fact that of the differences in between mitosis (asexual cell reproduction) and meiosis (sexual cabinet reproduction). Mitosis is the procedure by i m sorry a zygote turns right into an adult animal by copying its very own cells over and over and also increasing in size; meiosis is the procedure by which that adult creates egg or sperm to contribute to the following generation.


Chromosomes come in pairs; we have actually two copies of every chromosome, one from each parent. Humans, for example, have 46 chromosomes, consists of 23 pairs. Both species of cabinet division, mitosis and also meiosis, call for chromosomes to heat up v the analogue chromosome of your "pair" prior to cell division, climate the pairs room "split under the middle," come ensure that each new cell end up v complementary halves and also a complete chromosomal complement.


This is a representation of simply one chromosome pair. The red chromosome has actually two the same arms. The blue chromosome will have different sequences to the red chromosome, but again, its two arms room identical. That the 23 chromosome bag that people have, each chromosome has actually known characteristics. So genes for particular characteristics are constantly in the exact same place in between individuals, also though the actual password differs. Because that example, in humans, the genes which identify ABO blood form are top top chromosome 9.

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When you have actually chromosomes of 2 species, they will have some differences in just how all the attributes are distributed on chromosomes. If chromosomes are "similar enough" to be recognized as bag by the moving machinery, then because that mitosis, the pairs can line up along the facility of the cell the is about to divide, then duplicate, then separate into two identical teams to kind two identical child cells. This can require, for example, because that the two parents to have actually the same variety of chromosomes, and also the chromosomes to be of approximately similar sizes.


But the vital distinction that provides fertility extremely difficult for hybrids is that during meiosis, material is exchanged in between the 2 pairs of chromosomes. (Note the this diagram mirrors what wake up to just one chromosome pair throughout these cell divisions, therefore in truth it"s considerably much more complex.)


As you deserve to see indigenous the diagram, during meiosis, parts of one chromosome pair space being swapped for "chunks" of its opposite number. As soon as your chromosomes and also genes precisely match up, that"s no problematic - in fact, advantageous; that"s how genetic diversity is created - however if the lion and also tiger, for example, have a gene for vital function in a very slightly various place top top the chromosome, swapping a little of one chromosome for a chunk the its the contrary in the same physical ar on the chromosome is almost certain to interfere through the function performed by the gene.


As every living organism has thousands of crucial functions, the possibilities of interfering v at the very least one of castle is really high uneven the two varieties are very genetically similar.


In fact, the most typical scientific meaning of a varieties takes benefit of this: if a hybrid of two organisms have the right to undergo meiosis and produce viable offspring, then by definition, those two organisms room members the the same species. <1>


<1> The American Heritage science Dictionary, an interpretation of species: "A team of organisms having actually many features in common and also ranking listed below a genus. Organisms that reproduce sexually and also belong to the same species interbreed and also produce productive offspring."


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