Scientists discover gene that gives tabby cats their markings - Chicago Cats | Examiner.com: "The discovery was made by researchers who contributed to the sequencing of the genome of the domestic cat, a project that was completed in 2007. They were especially interested in the gene or genes that change the typical tabby pattern from vertical, tiger-like stripes to the less common blotchy . . . The British called silk from the region “atabi,” and applied the word “tabby” to the cats that had markings resembling the stripes on the silk.
There are several different patterns for tabbies. Classic tabbies have blotches in addition to stripes, which often appears to be a swirl of stripes on the cat’s sides. Generally the stripes are very well defined, and this pattern is a favorite among cat owners. This pattern is caused by mutations in the Taqpep gene.
The mackerel pattern is the most common, and is characterized by stripes that run vertically down the cat’s sides and one wide, dark stripe down the cat’s back and up its tail. The backs of its feet are dark in color; usually the same color as its stripes, and there is no ticking, or the agouti “peppering” that is so common to wild animals."
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