By: Michael Piotte, Sylvia Mlynarski, Keith Francis, and Emily Yip (Stonehill College, BIO323: Evolution, Spring 2021)
Does this look like a normal pet cat to you? If so, keep reading; the true answer may surprise you.
When organisms reproduce, they randomly give half of their genetic information to their offspring. When two organisms from closely related species mate, the same process occurs. However, there is a significant issue. If this interbreeding between closely related species continues, it can lead to one or both species dying out. They will inevitably breed into one species, assuming they produce fertile offspring. This process is called hybridization, which can sometimes increase biodiversity by introducing a new species to the environment. This can also decrease biodiversity through changing environmental conditions and/or competition through a process known as introgression. This occurs when DNA from one species eventually swamps the genome of another species through interbreeding. Scientists from Switzerland and the U.K. projected how this process might be affecting domestic cats and wildcats in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland.
Listen now and read more below:Continue reading “Projecting introgression from domestic cats into European wildcats in the Swiss Jura”