Seska appears, even when she looks Cardassian, to not have the grey skin color seen on all other Cardassians. Is this due to her cosmetic alteration or does she have some sort of mutation? Also, her Cardassian features are not as prominent as on most other Cardassians, and she has orange hair. Why is this? This is the picture I was using as a reference to ask my question:

enter image description here

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    Maybe Cardassians can have different skin tones just like humans can. Quit thinking so single-racially. Aug 11, 2014 at 16:58
  • The Memory Alpha page clearly states that "Externally, Cardassians were easily recognizable by each having light-gray skin, two thick vertical neck ridges that receded back to the crown of their head and an inverted tear-shaped ridge in the center of the forehead." This implies that each and ever Cardassian has grey skin. I wasn't trying to be racist
    – Lukas
    Aug 11, 2014 at 20:59
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    It is describing all the Cardassians that have been shown on-screen. There is no canonical reference demonstrating that this was a genetic trait. In fact on that very page you can see a photo of Legate Damar whose skin rather closely resembles Seska's, no? Aug 11, 2014 at 21:32
  • I don't know which picture of Damar you were looking at, but he clearly has a defined grey skin tone. Also, Seska is obviously not back to her normal self in the image above, which is not only shown through her more human skin tone but also by the fact that her Cardassian features are very subtle. Also, we've seen a ton of Cardassians in DS9, including many Cardassians on Cardassia itself. These Cardassians ALL had grey skin, and Wouldn't you think that the producers would have decided to show some different colored Cardassians if they intended Cardassians to have different skin colors?
    – Lukas
    Aug 12, 2014 at 23:16
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    @JamesSheridan: Yes. Aug 13, 2014 at 9:24

4 Answers 4


Seska had been genetically altered, not surgically, to appear Bajoran. She was gradually transitioning back to her original Cardassian features at the point that picture is from. She was killed before the transition was complete.

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    Is there proof that it was a slow transition? I'm just asking because your answer conflicts with mine on that point. Usually (in Trek-Medicine) genetic alterations lead to immediate changes in appearance (not that it ever made any sense irl).
    – Einer
    Aug 11, 2014 at 8:03
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    @Einer: Here's the exact quote from "Maneuvers": SESKA [on viewscreen]: That's right, Captain. As you can see, I'm in the process of restoring my Cardassian physiology. Hello, Chakotay. Feb 19, 2016 at 22:42

Because that part of her DNA was not restored.

The grey-skin-gene seems to be dominant as we can see with Tora Ziyal (daughter of cardassian and bajoran parents):

enter image description here

Seska had that part of her DNA removed and it was not restored. Otherwise the dominant grey-skin-gene would have caused her child to have grey skin. But it has not:

enter image description here

Why she didn't restore that part of her DNA one can only speculate. Maybe it is a very complex procedure. The removal has been done by skilled military doctors, and it could be that the less advanced Kazon could not do it.

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    It's preposterous to try to infer too much about Cardassian genetics from the skin tone of the baby. It turned out to be half-Kazon, not half-human, and Kazon have a red skin tone. And who's to say how Cardassian and Kazon DNA interact genetically. For this reason, -1. Feb 19, 2016 at 22:47

There seems to be a recessive trait of the "red". She's not the only one who is pink. Gul Macet also displays a sandy pink with brown hair. My canon guess is that it is similar to snakes that are partially albino losing black and dark pigments but retaining the red pigments. But it was probably more to a budget problem than anything.


I think that Seska is probably half cardassian and half bajoran, that is why she was chosen to be surgical altered so that she looked fully bajoran, because her skin tone was already a similar shade.

Also this would explain why she has reddish brown colour hair and why she has a relationship with Chakotay. I think that she really does love him to some degree.

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    Do you have a source for this?
    – Mithical
    Mar 5, 2017 at 13:42

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