Aby-a-Day – October 8: It’s a funny kind of month, October (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s World Series playoff time again.

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And, for the second season in a row, the Red Sox are not participating.

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Not the best climate to be wearing a Red Sox uniform.

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Of course, it could be worse. Of all the Sox players, only three are still on good terms with the city.

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Dustin Pedroia, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, and, of course, Jacoby Ellsbury. It’s pretty generally accepted that it’s not these guys’ fault we’re not in it this year. So our Jacoby can hold his head up.

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And, as the saying goes, there’s always next year.

Of Cheetahs, Cats & Kings…Genetics in action

On 21 September, Science Magazine released a new paper titled “Specifying and Sustaining Pigmentation Patterns in Domestic and Wild Cats.” Unfortunately, I can’t find a free copy online of the full article, but
Science Magazine does have an illustrative slideshow here, and other supplementary materials here.

This blog post does a great job explaining the article, and also has a link to an earlier study on King Cheetahs done in 1986 , and even Wired Magazine did a piece on this paper, proving that cats really do own the internet.

Basically, what the study found is that the gene responsible for the Classic/Blotched tabby pattern in cats is identical to the gene that causes the blotched “King” Cheetah.

As you regular readers know, I love breaking genetics news. But even better than random genetics discoveries, I love seeing genetics in real life. So imagine the thrill I felt sitting down to watch the HHP judging at the cat show last weekend and seeing this little girl:

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This cat isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill, random-bred silver classic tabby HHP. Sascha is actually a purebred, pedigreed silver Egyptian Mau. She just happened to be born blotched, not spotted.

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The blotched, “classic” tabby pattern is actually recessive to the mackerel, spotted and ticked (aka Abyssinian) tabby patterns. Blotched Egyptian Maus do crop up in even the best bloodlines, but they’re extremely rare; in this cat’s breeding program there hasn’t been a blotched Mau in seven years.

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In every other way, she’s 100% Egyptian Mau, but she’s not registrable as a Mau in CFA. But she can be entered in the HHP class.

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She has the most amazing blotching. I was mesmerised by her. Compare Sascha to her spotted half-sisters:

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I’ve got a couple of them side-by-side, too:

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Isn’t it just so cool when you get to witness something you just read about in real life?

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Sascha really enjoyed showing, too, so I’m sure she’ll be in New England CFA HHP rings for years to come. I think it’s awesome that her breeder isn’t keeping her hidden; this is just a great thing to be able to see in real life.