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posted by janrinok on Saturday September 11, @02:18PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the purr-plexing-puzzle dept.

Scientists reveal how tabby cats get their distinctive stripes:

As any cat owner can tell you, cats don't give up their secrets easily. But a new study, published Tuesday in the science journal Nature Communications, delves into a long-held kitty mystery: How exactly does a tabby cat's genes make those striking stripe patterns in its fur?

"Tabby" isn't a breed; it's a distinct fur pattern common among cats. Tabby cats often have what looks like a letter "M" on their foreheads, plus bold stripes of varying design in their fur. The tabbys have made their mark on pop culture, too. Morris the 9Lives cat food mascot is an orange tabby, as are cartoon cats Garfield and Heathcliff.

In the new study, conducted by scientists affiliated with Alabama's HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the Stanford University School of Medicine, 200 litters of nonviable embryos were examined, delving into the mystery of how patterns emerge in a developing cat.

[...] It all may seem like more than you wanted to know about your favorite feline, but the study notes that "understanding the basis of the animal color pattern is a question of longstanding interest for developmental and evolutionary biology."

Journal Reference:
Kaelin, Christopher B., McGowan, Kelly A., Barsh, Gregory S.. Developmental genetics of color pattern establishment in cats [open], Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25348-2)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @03:59PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @03:59PM (#1177010)

    --nomsg

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @04:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @04:30PM (#1177019)

      From TFA:

      The study found that differences in the expression of the embryo's genes determined the colors they would later produce when growing hair follicles. Seemingly identical cat-skin cells can acquire different genetic signatures that later result in the cat's intricate fur patterns.

      So, I guess it has something to do with genetics, or DNA, or something.

      --
      Who knew?

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @12:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @12:56AM (#1177141)

    ...that they will never be as big, scary or awesome as tigers.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by stretch611 on Sunday September 12, @02:59AM

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 12, @02:59AM (#1177161)

    As any cat owner can tell you, cats don't give up their secrets easily.

    Sure they will, we just need to dissect more of them; even if that means all of them.

    This message has been approved by Marmaduke, Lassie, Benji, Rin Tin Tin, Fido, Rexx, Rover, Santa's Little Helper, and dog lovers everywhere.

    --
    I think; therefore, I am vaccinated.
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