Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Plant Sciences, Zoology & Evolution => Topic started by: Hannah LS on 03/12/2018 10:22:46

Title: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: Hannah LS on 03/12/2018 10:22:46
Pete asks:

I was wondering, if lions and tigers can interbreed and have ligers, presumably all the big cats interbreed with each other, but could a domestic cat breed with a lion or tiger and what would the result be?

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: Kryptid on 03/12/2018 19:43:54
I don't know if lions and house cats can interbreed (even if they can, artificial insemination would almost certainly be necessary, and you'd want the lion to be the mother). However, you can indeed have many hybrids among the different cat species. House cats can hybridize with margays, margays can hybridize with ocelots, ocelots can hybridize with pumas, pumas can hybridize with leopards and leopards can hybridize with lions. The Messybeast website goes into much detail on these hybrids: http://messybeast.com/genetics/hybrid-cats.htm
Title: Re: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: Bored chemist on 03/12/2018 20:20:53
If you are talking about "successfully" breeding and the conventional definition of "species" then the answer is none.
Any offspring are infertile.
Title: Re: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: evan_au on 03/12/2018 20:34:09
Oops! Overlap with Bored Chemist...
One of the important factors in interbreeding is whether the offspring are fertile.
At a coarse level, it is important that the parents have the same number of chromosomes.
- Domestic cat: 38
- Lion: 38
- Tiger: 38

There is more to it than this - the chromosomes need to carry roughly the same genes, in roughly the same locations to produce viable offspring in the second and third generations.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organisms_by_chromosome_count
Title: Re: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: Ophiolite on 04/12/2018 22:58:06
If you are talking about "successfully" breeding and the conventional definition of "species" then the answer is none.
Any offspring are infertile.
As an absolute statement this turns out to be incorrect. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger#Fertility
Title: Re: Which cat species can interbreed?
Post by: Bored chemist on 05/12/2018 21:53:16
If you are talking about "successfully" breeding and the conventional definition of "species" then the answer is none.
Any offspring are infertile.
As an absolute statement this turns out to be incorrect. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger#Fertility

What do you consider the conventional definition of "species" to be?