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A new color for cats discovered by science

A new color for cats discovered by science

By studying the cat genome, researchers were able to identify the aspect responsible for the new color in cats – the absence of an entire stretch of DNA

June 8
2024
– 5:36 pm

(Updated at 8:27 p.m.)

New color from cat It was discovered and described by Finnish researchers – it is “salmiaki”, or “salmiak”, named after the Scandinavian dessert of the same name with a “flaky” appearance, i.e. dark with white spots. In cats the pattern is also dark with white spots, but the neck, chest, belly and feet are white, as if they were wearing a suit.

Image: Ari Kankinen for Anderson et al/Animal Genetics/Canaltech

The color difference is due to the change in color of each individual hair the catsIt varies between the root and the tip, as it starts dark near the skin and gradually loses its color until it turns white. Genetically speaking, this is extremely important to science, and not just a curiosity about cats.

Cats and their colors

for us Domestic cats They generally come in two colors – orange and black. We must remember the cats In different colors, but these coats are some variation of both colors at some level of discolouration, texture, or both. Salmiaki (Finnish for “ammonia salt”) basically has part of its DNA missing. Its unusual color caught the attention of science in 2007.

Cats have been studied to discover new colors – from salami to orange, brown and more (Photo: Anderson et al./Animal Genetics)

Cats have been studied to discover new colors – from salami to orange, brown and more (Photo: Anderson et al./Animal Genetics)

Photo: ChannelTech

The mutation that creates the salmiaki characteristic is a recessive mutation, meaning both parents need to have the gene to pass the color to the puppy. The gene is called KIT, which is responsible for the orange-black hue in the body the cats. Since this characteristic is caused by the absence of a gene, scientists had to map the entire genome of the salmiaki fish and study 181 cats.

Of the three who were salmiaki in the group studied, they did not have the KIT gene fragment in their DNA, while three of them did not have the KIT gene fragment in their DNA. Other cats They had the same mutation, but only from one parent, and they did not have a different coat.

The rest of the cats were not salmiaki and had intact DNA. Through the study published in the scientific journal Animal Genetics, scientists hope to detect more rare breeds and better preserve them in the future.

Salmiaki (which means ammonia salt, coming from Latin), a Finnish sweet that gave the name to the new cat breed (Photo: Marcin Floryan/CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Salmiaki (which means ammonia salt, coming from Latin), a Finnish sweet that gave the name to the new cat breed (Photo: Marcin Floryan/CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Photo: ChannelTech

source: Animal genetics

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