Biology Question #378

Gary A. Ballan, a 51 year old male from the Internet asks on May 7, 1998,

I know that there has been success with crossbreeding horses with zebras, dogs with wolves and cattle with bison. Is it also possible to cross breed African elephants with Asian elephants, leopards with jaguars, black bears with brown bears, wolves with coyotes, etc.

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The answer

David Baillie answered on May 7, 1998

If animals can breed, they do not always produce fertile progeny (the mule, for example, is a sterile cross between a donkey and a horse.) The production of sterile offspring results because the two animals being hybridized actually had different chromosome numbers. The chromosomes of hybrid offspring then get in big trouble when they try to go into meiosis. As for your list - it depends very much on the species, whether they are in fact different species, and a host of other issues.

Morgan answered on April 9, 2002

There actually is a cross breed of the leopard and the jaguar. It's called a lep-jag and is sterile. I saw it at a wildlife rescue place in Florida.

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