The Quagga and Science: What Does the Future Hold for This Extinct Zebra?


Quaggas, partially striped zebras from South Africa, have had major impacts on science. In the 19th century, the results of mating between a quagga stallion and a horse mare influenced thinking about mechanisms of inheritance for more than 70 years. In the 20th century, tissue from a quagga yielded the first DNA of an extinct organism to be cloned and sequenced. Selective breeding of plains zebras in South Africa has produced animals whose coat coloration resembles that of some quaggas. This raises the intriguing possibility that quaggas may once again be the focus of scientific investigations.