Largest Known Cat in the World: The Liger

From the genetic Y chromosome of a lion and the X chromosome of a female tiger a liger was then discovered. This distribution of the chromosomes in ligers gives them a trait of stripes like a tiger and a sociable like physique like a lion.

Some studies state that hybrids have incomplete chromosomes. This can only be possible if the male and females have different numbers of chromosomes. A liger has the total number of 38 chromosomes. 19 of these chromosomes come from the lion and 19 from the tiger.

Ligers can be related with Genomic Imprinting, which is when a mammal inherits only one gene which comes under the context of the genomic imprinting. Among the mammals, genomic imprinting is less than 1 percent. Therefore, there is a very little chance of genomic imprinting to occur.

This leads to whether or not ligers are fertile or not. According to Wild Cats of the World, ligers were thought to be sterile. In 1943, a fifteen-year-old hybrid between a lion and an ‘Island’ tiger was successfully mated with a lion at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. The female cub, though of delicate health, was raised to adulthood. Also, in September 2012, the Russian Novosibirsk Zoo announced the birth of a “liliger”, which is the offspring of a liger mother and a lion father. So as far as research goes ligers are genetically capable of producing off spring.
A lot is yet to be discovered about ligers from a genetics perspective. There has been very little samples of ligers due to how rare the species is.. It will be a matter of time that a lot of research will be carried out on these animals and then these animals will be genetically more aware by the individuals.

Fun Fact: Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild.

About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

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