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from gloria stephens

Keith Robison robison at lipid.harvard.edu
Thu Jul 20 06:42:53 EST 1995

Mahlon G. Kelly (mgk at darwin.clas.Virginia.EDU) wrote:
: Re. feline genetics. I have noticed that a cross betwen a tabby
: and a pure-bred siamese will produce more than 1/2 50% pure
: black kittens, and they preserve their black pigmentation until
: old age, when a few white hairs and white wiskwas (cat spelling
: for vibrisae) will appear. 

: Several vets have confirmed that they have seen the same.
: Purebred Siamese breeders deny it. "MY cats breed with a tabby?
: Don't be ridiculous". At any rate, is there any genetic basis
: for this? 

The "Siamese" coloration pattern is due to a temperature-sensitive
allele in a black-pigment locus -- cooler parts of the body
turn black, but in warm regions it doesn't function and hence
you get white.  In a cross with a pure-bred black cat 
I would expect 100% black kittens -- the black trait should
be dominant.

A good book on cat genetics would be a joy indeed!
(since I like both cats and genetics)

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

robison at mito.harvard.edu 

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