biophysics vs. biochem speculatin'....
rxw13 at po.cwru.edu
Fri Nov 3 11:41:32 EST 1995
> mbmorton at ix.netcom.com (michelle morton ) writes:
>Got a question that's been puzzling me. My cat's fur is so soft that
>petting him is like touching a cashmere or angora sweater. My question
>is this - is *softness* due to: ...
>Obviously, as a student I have wwwaaaaaayyyy too much time on my time
>on my hands :>!!! This is one of several "philosophy" of chemistry
>questions I have that keep me from ever getting around to figuring out
>how to solve world hunger or bring about total global peace on earth
>and other really important stuff like that! Soooooooo, if you can help
>me out, I'd really appreciate it. Thanx in advance for your info.
Never apologize for thinking, Mich. Lotsa good ideas have their origins in
I don't have an answer, but a speculation -- 'softness' in fur is a lack of
resistance to pressure, yet a resilience once that pressure is removed.
Probalby all of your options are involved -- protein tertiery and quaternary
structure that permits easy alignment of individual hairs, possibly a thin
monomolecular film lanolin coating that prevents electrostatic interactions
between strands - but isn't thick enough to feel greasy or allow stickiness.
It might be interesting for a industrial polymer company to find out what ARE
the differences between angora-y soft cats and plain ordinary cats at the
molecular and physical levels, if they already haven't -- presumably, preety
much the same structural proteins -- maybe differences in proline content?
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