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Niobium Knight
10-28-2001, 11:19 PM
or vice versa?

wolfstu
10-28-2001, 11:31 PM
Apparently, when asked why cats and humas can't interbreed, one Cecil Adams replied:

"For the same reason you can't park a Cadillac in a closet."


With a mismatched number of chromosomes between the two parents, or very different DNA/protein structures, or anatomical diiferences, it's difficult-gusting-to-impossible.

Plus, one of the definitions of 'species' is 'a group of individuals who can interbreed with each other and produce fertile offspring'. I don't think that quite works for you and the squirrel that lives in your chevy's suspension.

And, of course, why would you want to?

On the other hand, I saw a TV program (Old Reliable, I know) that talked about an ape with one less chromosome than a man, and one more than a chimp. The suggestion was that it was the result of human-chimp interbreeding.

Not my kind of one-night stand.

Earthling
10-28-2001, 11:33 PM
From my dictionary:

Species
Biol. The major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

So I'd say no, by definition. I'll defer to the biologists on this board for better/fuller explanations.

The Tim
10-28-2001, 11:43 PM
There are a lot of things keeping humans from breeding with other animals.

The first is the fact that "normal" people don't find other animals attractive sexually. This feeling is mutual so it doesn't usually come up.

The second is that there may be physical miss matches which will keep the act from actually occuring.

Third the sperm may not be able to get into the egg correctly. This has to do with chemicals on their surfaces which are not uniform across species.

Finally if the sperm does manage to penetrate the egg the chromosomes may be sufficiently different to prevent the formation of a zygote which the mothers body won't abort.

This is what I remember from the one hour and thiry minute discusion in lab my intro to molecular cellular & developmental biological had about it because everyone wanted to know.

Hybrids are rare and generally occur between very similar species where the sperm can get into the egg and the result is enough like the mother's species that the body will recognise it as viable offspring.

AHunter3
10-28-2001, 11:52 PM
is it possible for a human to make another species pregnant?

Absolutely.

Take one female of another species. Do the Marlon Perkins thing with the tranquilizer dart. Take syringe full of semen of male of that species and inject into vagina of tranquilized female. Repeat as necessary.

(Any questions?)

Gaspode
10-29-2001, 12:12 AM
OH NO (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=77064)

It's back. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=64664) :eek:


:)

MikeG
10-29-2001, 12:29 AM
Holy crap! It's a wossname...a talking dog!?!?

Badtz Maru
10-29-2001, 01:48 AM
I bet a human could impregnate a chimp, though I doubt the offspring would be fertile. We're a lot closer to each other than other animals that occasionally produce offspring (i.e. horses and donkeys).

grettle
10-29-2001, 07:28 AM
no scientific back up for this one, but i have been told that a camel is the only animal a human can impregnate. i've not done any research here, but if you are curious enough, here's a lead. . .

C Thompson
10-29-2001, 08:06 AM
BAAAAAAAAAAAA,BAAAAAAAAAAA



OH heck Knight, lets find out.

DougC
10-29-2001, 10:26 AM
- - - Somebody at SD should really do a statistical breakdown of these kinds of "adult" popular questions. I know about the usual old ones like "gry", driveway/parkway and "why don't phone psychics call you", but they need to keep going until they get to the fun stuff like screwing animals, making drugs and blowing stuff up. - MC

Achernar
10-29-2001, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by AHunter3
Take one female of another species. Do the Marlon Perkins thing with the tranquilizer dart. Take syringe full of semen of male of that species and inject into vagina of tranquilized female. Repeat as necessary.

(Any questions?) Yeah. Am I missing something, or is there some reason to think this would actually work?

theretsof
10-29-2001, 12:33 PM
http://www.sciam.com/explorations/030397clone/030397beards.html

(CAPS ADDED)
Wilmut and his co-workers accomplished their feat by transferring the nuclei from various types of sheep cells into unfertilized sheep eggs from which the natural nuclei had been removed by microsurgery. Once the transfer was complete, the recipient eggs contained a complete set of genes, just as they would if they had been fertilized by sperm. The eggs were then cultured for a period before being IMPLANTED INTO SHEEP THAT CARRIED THEM TO TERM, one of which culminated in a successful birth. The resulting lamb was, as expected, an exact genetic copy, or clone, of the sheep that provided the transferred nucleus, not of those that provided the egg.

gazpacho
10-29-2001, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by Achernar
Originally posted by AHunter3
Take one female of another species. Do the Marlon Perkins thing with the tranquilizer dart. Take syringe full of semen of male of that species and inject into vagina of tranquilized female. Repeat as necessary.

(Any questions?) Yeah. Am I missing something, or is there some reason to think this would actually work?
Maybe I am clueless but isn't this basically how they artificially inseminate cows for breading? It is my understanding that this is done all the time and is more common that just letting the cow and bull do what comes naturally.

lieu
10-29-2001, 02:20 PM
Sure, and although the sheep generally have trouble with the cigarette afterwards, they do seem to enjoy the Appalichi Cola (TM).

Sofa King
10-29-2001, 02:47 PM
Certainly the fact that there are not "sheeple" walking around in New Zealand and Argentina tells us that humans and sheep do not produce viable offspring.

Gaspode
10-29-2001, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by gazpacho
Maybe I am clueless but isn't this basically how they artificially inseminate cows for breading? It is my understanding that this is done all the time and is more common that just letting the cow and bull do what comes naturally. [/B]

[Homer Simpson]Cow bread, mmmmm[/Homer Simpson]

Yeah, it's basically artificial insemination, except actually tranquilising an animal is exceptionally rare. Standard procedure is to 'manually manipulate' the male ito donating, or electroshock his prostate. Not even rhinos are anaesthetised for the procedure.

No, it's not more common than natural insemination.

And I don't think that's quite what the OP meant.

Keeve
10-29-2001, 02:52 PM
Achernar, I think that AHunter3 was too subtle for you. Read it again:
Take one female of another species. ... semen of male of that species ...
Get it? A non-human male, and a non-human female. Now read the OP again:is it possible for a human to make another species pregnant?Yeah sure, get it?

Milton De La Warre
10-29-2001, 03:06 PM
Sofa king: Ah, but there ARE "sheeple"! Who else but them would keep Geraldo Rivera, Jerry Springer, MTV, etc. on the air?

I think what the OP is after is why the sperm of species A (Human) can't physically or DNA wise fertilize the ovum of species B (chimpanzee, sheep, etc.). Suppose for the sake of argument the sperm and ovum were both in a dish to avoid the whole issue of cadillacs in closets, physical attraction, etc. My guess is that there is something with the DNA and chromosones and so on having to be close in number and structure.

Cloning isn't part of the discussion because it's a same-species thing; in fact, it's a same-creature thing.

EVO95
10-29-2001, 03:31 PM
Big ol' horse + Mrs. Seinfeld = Jerry

Been done. :D

mnemosyne
10-29-2001, 07:19 PM
But do we know we can't? I mean, as has been mentioned, other species have done it. Take, for example, wheat, canola, the mule, or the lyger. Hell, they had a HOUSECAT carry a tiger to term, didn't they? AFAIK, no one has tried to form a zygote from human and non-human gametes. I'm definitely not up to date on this, though, but damn if it would't have made it to the news! There are way to many ethical questions involved, and although I'm sure there are people out there just waiting for the chance to actually do it, I think no one reputatable would touch this experiment with a 10 foot pole! The world doesn't even want cloning right now. Imagine trying to introduce a human-other species hybrid? It would never go.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if it were possible.

HelloKitty
10-29-2001, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by EVO95
Big ol' horse + Mrs. Seinfeld = Jerry

Been done. :D

Really?? I thought it was:

Big ol' horse + Mrs. Elway = Hall of Fame QB

Achernar
10-30-2001, 02:17 AM
Quoth Keeve: "Achernar, I think that AHunter3 was too subtle for you."

Ah ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah, I get it now. I'm an idiot. For some reason I read "another species" as an animal and "that species" as human. Pret-ty clever. But I guess that still doesn't answer the OP. Oh well.

Liberal
10-30-2001, 04:03 AM
Pardon me for interrupting, but is there anyone who can answer the OP with either yes or no? I would like to know the answer, too.

Mersavets
10-30-2001, 04:40 AM
It's hard to believe it hasn't at least been tried in some laboratory somewhere isn't it?^

Gozu Tashoya
10-30-2001, 05:02 AM
Originally posted by HelloKitty
Really?? I thought it was:

Big ol' horse + Mrs. Elway = Hall of Fame QB [/B]

If anything, shouldn't that be Ed McCaffrey? Kinda horsey looking guy if you ask me. (Which you didn't, but still....)

mischievous
10-30-2001, 05:13 AM
Simple reply:

There are no recorded cases of successful human/non-human matings. This leads me to belive that there have never been any.

There are several barriers to inter-species reproduction. First is obviously mate choice. Second, the sperm needs to recognize and bind to the ovum, and the protiens involved in this process mutate relatively quickly, so different species usually have different protiens. Third, different genes and different arrangement of genes in different species would completely mess up the developing embryo, and it would almost certainly get aborted. Fourth, the process of imprinting (which governs whether certain genes are used only from the maternal genome, paternal genome, or both) varies widely even between closely related species, and incorrect imprinting results in horribly messed up embryos, which may be aborted or may kill the mother. There are probably a few barriers I'm missing.

It is possible for SOME related species to reproduce, if the genes responsible have not mutated. Most related species cannot (yes, it's been tried with a number of species). The only real way to test if a particular pair of closely related species can reproduce is to try it. Now, given the propensity of horny humans to stick it in anything warm and concave, I would guess that there have been a significant number of human/non-human-primate matings (think pets, zoos, and captured animals in areas where they are endemic). I have NEVER seen a report of a live birth that was a human hybrid, and I do think it would make news, especially with us geneticists.

A couple of caveats:

I'm talking about modern humans and non-human primates here. Obviously if you go back in evolution, there was probably a time when proto-humans and proto-chimps still sufficiently similar that they could interbreed.

In my list of barriers above, numbers 1 and 2 would prevent conception, and thus pregnancy. Numbers 3 and 4 would result in early spontaneous abortion, but that could be considered a pregancy by the OP. It is possible that human/nonhuman matings can proceed to conception, and this could be tested by mixing human sperm and non-human ova in a dish, and looking for fertilization. I don't know if anyone has ever done this.

Izzardesque
10-30-2001, 06:43 AM
Given the prolivity for shagging animals in certain backwaters, if it was gonna happen, it probably would have done....

plnnr
10-30-2001, 07:22 AM
The term "electroshock his prostate" makes my eyes water.

epolo
10-30-2001, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Earthling
From my dictionary:

Species
Biol. The major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

So I'd say no, by definition. I'll defer to the biologists on this board for better/fuller explanations.

This definition of species seems to be falling out of favor. According to this article (http://www.sciencenews.org/20010721/bob13.asp) (warning: subscriber only article, link may not work) from Science News (http://www.sciencenews.org), the definition is moving towards something like: Members of a species share some distinctive look or make-up and don't breed a lot with outsiders.
-Dolph Schluter of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver(Emphasis mine)

nth
10-30-2001, 01:26 PM
The simple answer is NO. Humans cannot impregnant another species, but it does not mean impossible.
Reason that it maybe possible is that freaks of nature happens.

Cargogal
10-30-2001, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by mnemosyne
Take, for example, wheat, canola, the mule, or the lyger.

I hope you're kidding - wheat and canola? Lyger? But as to the mule - the defenition we usually give is that two different species cannot mate to give fertile offspring. A horse and a donkey can mate, but because they are different species, the offspring (mule) is not fertile.

It has to do with number of chromosomes, but also with meiosis - gametes don't get made right when the chromosome complements don't match.

Apollyon
10-30-2001, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by Sofa King
Certainly the fact that there are not "sheeple" walking around in New Zealand and Argentina tells us that humans and sheep do not produce viable offspring.

Either that, or the hybrid offspring are nearly identical to one of the parents.

The number of slack-jawed yokels I observed in a nearby supermarket last week leads me to seriously consider this possibility.

Apollyon
10-30-2001, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by Cargogal
Lyger?

Not only Ligers (http://www.lairweb.org.nz/tiger/ligers.html), but Tigons (http://www.lairweb.org.nz/tiger/tigons.html) too.

Ligers and Tigons and Bears, oh my! :)

Colibri
10-30-2001, 02:26 PM
Originally posted by jkbelle
no scientific back up for this one, but i have been told that a camel is the only animal a human can impregnate. i've not done any research here, but if you are curious enough, here's a lead. . .

I surely hope this is not some oblique reference to that old joke about "ship of the desert" and "Arab sea-men."

vl_mungo
10-30-2001, 04:30 PM
Of course it is possible...
no less an authority thatn the Weekly World News frequently has articles on the insemination of human women by Sasquatches (Bigfeet... Bigfoots?), and occasionally female Sasquatches by human males.
If that ain't the truth, I don't know what is.

nth
10-31-2001, 02:33 PM
When talking about plants, this whole species thing is thrown out the window as you can breed cross species.

same with bacterias.

species is more applicable for multi cell animals when talking about breeding...

Gaspode
10-31-2001, 04:44 PM
Infertile hybridisation between plant species may be more common than amongst animals, though I would doubt it. I highly doubt fertile hybridisation between species is more common. I've seen papers suggesting that the classical species concept of infertile breeding under natural conditions is applied far more rigorously to plants than animals (and criticising the practice).

Both animal and plant species can hybridise across species (and occasionally across Genera) and produce fertile offspring. Both animals and plants do so in the wild.

Badtz Maru
11-01-2001, 12:06 AM
Originally posted by Izzardesque
Given the prolivity for shagging animals in certain backwaters, if it was gonna happen, it probably would have done....

In many areas where humans and the great apes share territory there is an extremely strong taboo on having sex with them, more so than other forms of bestiality. Also, most of the animals that humans tend to have sex with are either easy to overpower or so domesticated that they won't fight back when a human tries it. I find it hard to imagine that a human male would be able to rape an adult chimpanzee or gorilla.

Phobos
11-01-2001, 08:46 AM
Surprised that no one has mentioned that, about 30-40k years ago, H. sapiens may have interbred with another species quite frequently....H. neanderthalis. Not proven, of course, but a definite possibility. I suspect other past homonid species were possibilities too.

lieu
11-01-2001, 09:05 AM
You know what the neanderthals used to say...

"once you go homosapien, you never go back".


or so I've heard.

Phobos
11-01-2001, 09:13 AM
Which may be literally true if we bred them out of existance!

nth
11-01-2001, 03:42 PM
DNA testing failed to confirm that humans interbreed with neanderthals. That statement is more substantiable than saying DNA testing proved that humans did not interbreed with neanderthals as my local paper stated.

Gaspode,

Are you telling me that people don't cross-pollinate and whatever else farmers/scientists do to combine or add traits to plants when it crosses species?

I am no expert in this field, but I thought it was common practice for farmers/scientists to get better crops.

When you are saying people are criticizing the process, can you give me examples?

I am coming from a molecular point of view and I just know plants are a lot more forgiving when chromosomes don't match.

And when talking about bacterias, well, let's just say it is a whole new world.

Gaspode
11-01-2001, 04:58 PM
Farmers and scientists certainly do cross-pollinate to add traits to plants, just as farmers hybridise Bos taurus, Bos indicus and Bisonus bonasus to add traits to cattle. Similar hybridisation has occurred with various animal species. There’s no disputing that hybridisation across both Species’ and Genera occurs. The point of dispute is whether such hybridisation is more common amongst plants than animals. Given the greater numbers of plant species it’s highly doubtful if this is true.

Added to this artificial human hybridisation does not alter the species concept. A species remains a species if fertile reproduction is impossible in the wild. Humans have successfully ‘cross-pollinated’ camels and llamas, this doesn’t make them the same species because it’s completely artificial. Ditto with most plants. In the wild plant species often don’t hybridise because their flowering cycles are completely out of synch and never overlap, which is very similar to the reasons why cattle and bison don’t reproduce in the wild: the mating signals are out of synch. Horticulturalists overcome this in plants by using artificial lighting and hormones to synchronise flowering or by preserving pollen artificially. Similarly animal breeders use AI to preserve sperm and overcome asynchronous breeding cycles in animals. I seriously doubt however if natural cross-species hybridisation is any more common in plants than it is in animals (this has to take into account the massive number of plants vs. the piddling number of animals). Thus the species concept is as valid for plants as for animals based on that particular criterion.

Re- people criticising the plant species concept. I’ll see if I can dig up the original article but basically the criticism was that plants whose cycles were out of synch or that are isolated geographically and that had developed minor trait differences due to this can be very close geneticially and completely fertile if pollination does occur, but still designated as different species. The criticism was that this is completely artificial because changes in climate can, and apparently have in the past, caused re-synchronisation of flowering or allowed geographic re-integration and hence the species barrier is only a short-term phenomenon. These races shouldn’t be given separate species status just because plants are immobile, live longer than animals and are less mobile and hence exposed to more long-term climatic extremes and are more rigid in what promotes reproductive ‘cycling’. We consider Asian and American wolves to be the same species despite geographic isolation, asynchronous breeding and phenotypic differences because we know that if we lock them in the same reserve they will hybridise. However their are numerous plant species around the world that are completely fertile, synchronous in reproduction when in the same environment and have only minor phenotypic differences, yet are designated different species because they don’t reproduce in the wild. The European and American plane trees are classic examples, as are a complex of either five or six eucalypts in northern Australia.

I don’t doubt that plants are more forgiving of chromosomal mismatches, if only because polyploidy is so common naturally, but that probably doesn’t mean that hybridisation in the wild is more common.

Basically the whole species concept is arbitrary.

nth
11-02-2001, 01:13 PM
Gaspode,

THank you very much for your detail explanation.

I should go back to bio 1o1 as I forgot that species don't breed with other species in the wild. Not the same as species cannot breed. My wording is way wrong, but this is for my info rather for others to read. aka too lazy to retype and think. :P

Thanks again.