Striped cheetah?


| 6 Comments

cheetah blog.jpg                Growing up, I would have to say that the cheetah was by far my favorite animal. It still might be. But I can honestly say that I have never seen a cheetah with stripes. That is until I saw this article. These rarely striped cheetahs have been discovered in South Africa. The king cheetah was first discovered in 1981 but was considered to be a mix of another species.

                Researchers have been trying to figure out how this is possible. It is known that mutated genes are what cause spots to turns to stripes. But this particular case confused many scientists, and it had them thinking that maybe the cheetah had gotten the mutated gene from another species. The cheetahs that have been seen with stripes have become known as "king cheetahs."

                It is known by scientists that mutated genes often cause pattern changes in the appearance of mammals. Tests have been done on mice, but mice have yet to show any difference in pattern change like many mammals do. This has brought up a lot of questions amongst scientists. Very little is known in this category. However, there was a break-through in their testing of genetics. Scientists have found mutations within a gene that they have named Taqpep. This gene has been linked to these unusual and surprising dark, black stripes on the king cheetah.  Taqpep is said to create a periodic pattern for spots or for stripes. This has an effect on the gene Edn3, which is the gene that regulates the appearance of black stripes.

                This study is set to be published tomorrow, 09/21/12.

6 Comments

This is one of the coolest things I've read on this blog! Cheetahs are also one of my favorite animals, and the idea of them being striped is very new and intriguing for sure. I wonder what they will find out about this topic the more they research it. I wonder what it is about these specific king cheetahs in South Africa that gives them these mutated genes. Or are they even mutated genes or maybe a different gene in general that gives them these dark stripes rather than the spots that they usually have? One thing is for sure, I will definitely keep my eye out for more research on these rare cheetahs! One last question, do you know how many of these king cheetahs have the stripes? Are they becoming more common as time goes on?

From what I have seen, scientists are pretty adamant on the fact that it is mutated gene. I am also interested to see what comes out of this study. And to answer your final question, I remember reading that there are only about 10 known king cheetahs in the wild. The rest are in captivity.

This blog post is very similar to my blog post about zebras and the big question about whether they're black with white stripes or white with black stripes. To me, it all seems to come down to the genes. In the article I read about the zebras, it was talking about how all zebras have different patterns of stripes and it's all due to their genetic makeup. It seems interesting that the cheetah is very similar when talking about how their genes are what affect their fur pattern.

This blog post is very similar to my blog post about zebras and the big question about whether they're black with white stripes or white with black stripes. To me, it all seems to come down to the genes. In the article I read about the zebras, it was talking about how all zebras have different patterns of stripes and it's all due to their genetic makeup. It seems interesting that the cheetah is very similar when talking about how their genes are what affect their fur pattern.

This blog post is very similar to my blog post about zebras and the big question about whether they're black with white stripes or white with black stripes. To me, it all seems to come down to the genes. In the article I read about the zebras, it was talking about how all zebras have different patterns of stripes and it's all due to their genetic makeup. It seems interesting that the cheetah is very similar when talking about how their genes are what affect their fur pattern.


Michael,

I also never knew that it was possible for cheetahs to have stripes! I was intrigued by this genetic mutation, although I can say that I am not very surprised that this has happened. Throughout time, animals are always either adapting to the environment in order to survive or are changing genetically (whether manipulated by humans or the environment). This genetic mutation reminds me the change in color and appearance of rare colored lobsters. Check out this website (http://scienceray.com/biology/marine-biology/distinctly-rare-and-unique-lobsters/) to view some of the rare lobsters – some are pretty funny looking, so be prepared for a good laugh. Lastly, do you know if the Taqpep gene has been found in any other animals?

Interesting post!

Alex

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