MendAlien Genetics - Cardassians
I’ve been thinking a lot about the various different Cardassian makeup sculpts and how they could logically combine to create the naturally occurring Cardassian phenotypes (physical appearances) in the Star Trek universe. Also, the majority of prominent Cardassian characters we encounter have blue eyes - a recessive trait in the Human genome.
Pioneer geneticist Gregor Mendel used a long process of cross-breeding pea plants in order to determine which traits were dominant and which ones were recessive. He organized his results into graphical representations of offspring possibilities called punnet squares in order to catalogue the results of his experiments.
Here I used a punnet square to illustrate the various combinations of three traits via the use of both dominant and recessive alleles - orbital (eye) ridge shape, skin color, and eye color.
The first punnet square you see is just taking into account the trait of orbital ridge shape. The second, orbital ridge shape and skin color, and the third punnet square displays resulting offspring from a combination of all three traits.
Equatorial Cardassians are found mostly along - you guessed it - Cardassia’s equator. Their more rounded orbital ridges better provide shade to their eyes and their generally beige skin color is a holdover from when they had to camouflage against the desert sand.
Highland and Lowland Cardassians come from the upper and lower parallels of Cardassia, which feature more rugged, canyon-like landscapes. The nooks and crannies provided by the rocks were ideal places for predators to hide, so their more ovoid orbital ridges afforded them more peripheral vision to avoid attack. Their generally gray skin color also let them blend into those rocks and is, again, a holdover from a more primitive time.
Dukat and Damar are the most ideal examples of a ‘pure equatorial’ and ‘pure highland/lowland’ appearance, so they can adequately exhibit the different traits between the two.
Unlike orbital ridge shape and eye color, the alleles for skin color are codominant, meaning the resulting phenotype will be a mix between that of the two parents. The combination of Tain’s more blue-gray skin color and Mila’s more yellow-beige skin color results in Garak’s more greenish hue. However, he got his mother’s more refined orbital ridges and beautiful blue eyes. I think we’re all glad that it wasn’t the other way around.
This was so fun to do and I welcome suggestions of other alien species to interpret with old high school biology skills.