Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding why leopards can't change their spots

Date:
January 14, 2010
Source:
Genetics Society of America
Summary:
New research reveals something about how cats end up with spots and stripes. It demonstrates for the first time that at least three different genes are involved in the emergence of stripes, spots and other markings on domestic cats. Researchers have also determined the genomic location of two of these genes, which will allow for further studies that could shine scientific light on various human skin disorders.

Leopard. The leopard cannot change its spots, nor can the tiger change its stripes, but new research tells us something about how cats end up with their spots and stripes.
Credit: iStockphoto/Dmitry Ersler

The leopard cannot change its spots, nor can the tiger change its stripes, but a new research report published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Genetics tells us something about how cats end up with their spots and stripes. It demonstrates for the first time that at least three different genes are involved in the emergence of stripes, spots, and other markings on domestic cats.

Researchers have also determined the genomic location of two of these genes, which will allow for further studies that could shine scientific light on various human skin disorders.

"We hope that the study opens up the possibility of directly investigating the genes involved in pattern formation (i.e., the establishment of stripes, spots, and other markings) on the skin of mammals, including their structure, function, and regulation," said Eduardo Eizirik, a researcher involved in the work from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. "From these studies, we hope to understand how the different coat patterns have evolved in different mammalian groups, and to be able to investigate their roles in adaptation to different environments, such as their importance for camouflage in wild cat species."

Scientists crossed domestic cats with different coat patterns, such as stripes and blotches, and tracked the inheritance of these patterns among their offspring. Genetic samples were collected and used to type various molecular markers. Results showed that specific markers were inherited by a kitten every time a given coat pattern appeared, suggesting that the marker and the gene causing the coat pattern were located in the same region of the genome. Using statistical procedures called linkage mapping, scientists determined the genomic location of two genes involved in these traits. By clarifying the inheritance of markings in one mammalian species, researchers hope to identify and characterize the implicated genes and then determine if they apply to other mammals, such as humans. The hope is that this discovery will shed new light on human skin diseases that appear to follow standardized patterns.

"Coat color and markings of animals are obvious traits that have long attracted the interest of geneticists" said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS, "and this study in cats may ultimately help us better understand the genetics behind hair and skin color in other mammals. In turn, this understanding could lead to new therapeutic strategies to correct skin problems in people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Genetics Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eizirik et al. Defining and Mapping Mammalian Coat Pattern Genes: Multiple Genomic Regions Implicated in Domestic Cat Stripes and Spots. Genetics, 2010; 184 (1): 267 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.109629

Cite This Page:

Genetics Society of America. "Understanding why leopards can't change their spots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172308.htm>.
Genetics Society of America. (2010, January 14). Understanding why leopards can't change their spots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172308.htm
Genetics Society of America. "Understanding why leopards can't change their spots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172308.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins