What controls which features of each parent are expressed in offspring?

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Chertowsky, Arthur

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Chertowsky, Arthur  asked the Naked Scientists:

Dear Chris,
What is the process in animal hybridization that decides which characteristics of each parent animal would be best in the outcome?  As an example, why doesn't a liger have a lion's mane, and why is it a bigger animal than either a lion or a tiger?  Are these improvements, or random changes?
On a related subject, do you know of scientists seriously into the idea of creating "humanzees" (chimp & human hybrids) either as a way of saving chimps from extinction, or as a way to (ugh) harvest organs for humans from not-quite-humans?
I hope I'm using the question function on your site in the proper way -- I don't happen to have a scientist handy to answer my burning questions ...
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Arthur Chertowsky
Brooklyn, NY

What do you think?


Offline Chemistry4me

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I'm not sure if I'm on the right track but I suppose that some genes will get turned off and some will get turned on after fertilisationand during cell division so that specific characteristics/traits are shown in the offspring. Otherwise, the rest of the phenotypes will be totally be random.