Genes tell tale of cat domestication | Science News

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Genes tell tale of cat domestication

Five DNA variations distinguish tame felines from wild cousins

By
3:05pm, November 10, 2014

HERE, KITTY  DNA from Cinnamon, a female Abyssinian cat that lived at the University of Missouri, is now the standard against which other cat genomes are compared. Comparison of Cinnamon’s DNA with that of other domestic and wild cats has revealed how domestication shaped cats’ genes.

A peek into cats’ genetic makeup may help reveal how hissing wild felines became purring tabbies.

 

Five genes involved with embryo development differ between wild and domesticated cats, researchers report November 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new genetic data support a recent hypothesis about why domesticated animals often have a juvenile appearance.

 

In July, three scientists proposed that certain physical features shared by domestic animals, described as domestication syndrome, might all result from mild defects in the function of cells known as neural crest cells (SN: 8/23/14, p. 7). Neural crest cells migrate to different parts of an embryo and give rise to several tissues including the bone and

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