After years of studying how cats get their color, researchers have pinpointed an elusive gene underlying spots on cheetahs, stripes in house cats and patterns across the feline world.
Called Taqpep, it and two other genes produce proteins central to a cascade of cell-level events that ultimately generate your kitty’s distinctive coat.
“It’s something we’ve been curious about for a long time,” said geneticist Stephen O’Brien of the National Cancer Institute. “We’ve known just three genes were involved, but nobody knew what the genes were.”
Kinda reminds us of those Magic Eye optical illusions. Think we’ll see a 3D penguin if we stare at these things long enough?
“Objects take on a kind of magical quality when viewed from this unusual perspective…and that’s exactly what drove photographer Alex MacLean to get a pilot’s license and take to the sky.”