How do some cats have stripes and others spots?

Genetic Mutations Read more from
Chapter DNA, RNA, Chromosomes, and Genes

Researchers recently discovered why certain cats have stripes and others spots— and it all has to do with mutations. In particular, tabby house cats and king cheetahs share a gene responsible for the cats’ stripes and the cheetahs’ spots. But when a mutation in the single gene (called Taqpep) occurs, the tabby will develop patches, not stripes, and the cheetah’s spots become wide stripes. The biggest question remains: What is the biological and evolutionary significance of this mutation?


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