by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on November 20, 2014
Did your cat evolve to like you?
Science: The genes that turned wildcats into kitty cats
Feral felines and domestic cats are all capable carnivores. Scientists have now identified some of the genes that equip them to be great predators as well as genes that make domestic varieties content to share your affection and your home with your dog. (Perhaps I need to share this study with my dog, who is less than pleased with the arrangement.)
Geneticist Michael Montague and colleagues compared the genomes of domestic cats to wildcats. They examined the genomes of 22 different domestic cats from around the world and 4 wildcats (2 European wildcats and 2 Eastern wildcats). They also compared these cat genomes to the genomes of tigers, dogs, cows, and humans.
Since all of these are mammals designed to live in the same world, it is not surprising that they have many genes in common. Continue reading →