The unusual coat variation of the king cheetah is so different from the spots found on your typical cheetah that it almost looks like a completely different species of cat. Thought to once be a subspecies of cheetah, this rarity has been found to be the results of a single mutation in the DNA sequence of a peptidase enzyme called Taqpep.
This, along with the discovery of two other mutations, has helped researchers to uncover not only what causes the spot pattern of the cheetah but stipes in house cats and other patterns found in felines around the world!
Laurie Marker and Anne Schmidt-Küntzel of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, whom I have a close relationship with, contributed to this research. I hope to someday soon get the opportunity to work with many of the other individuals who contributed to this research. The world of feline genetics is growing and I hope to be a big part of that!
All photos and information from this post are from Wired Science about findings announced today in Science.
Chromatophores are specialized cells which produce pigments found in the dermal layer that are stored in compartments, called chromatosomes. Light is transmitted through this pigmented tissue through selective absorption and reflection through boundary layers. The cephalopod chromataphore is a multicellular organ comprised of muscles and nerves as well as the pigment. In the relaxed state the chromataphores are folded, hiding any color. When excited, the redial muscles contract and the diameter of the chromatophore dramatically increases and flattens revealing the pigment compartments. Scientists of Backyard Brains, a company that exposes and engages kids to concepts in neuroscience through compelling and hands-on experiments, utilized this adaptation to meld nature, science and rock-and-roll. Using a suction electrode attached the nerve in the upper side of a Longfin Inshore squid’s caudal fin, these scientists exposed the squid to tunes on their iPod. Neural stimulation from the music caused squid to light up! Watch the magic happen below.
(No squid were injured in the making of this video)
I want to thank Dr. Jeffrey Ihara, my BIO 202 professor at Mira Costa College, for sharing the article.
Read it for yourself: See What Happens When a Squid Listens to Hip Hop
Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you’re going certifiably insane? Where you can feel your synapses just aren’t firing right? Today I am having one of those days where simple things that are normally autopilot tasks are just falling right out of my brain. Is it stress, lack of sleep, the weather, hormones or my vitamin D deficiency? Don’t know for sure but the caffeinated coffee I had this morning (I always have decaf) surely didn’t help. Whatever is going on, I am just glad it’s the weekend!
Update: While I do have internet now, my connection is PAINFULLY slow, making it quite difficult to edit posts. I am sure Suddenlink is sick of me contacting them about improving my connection. I do not appreciate paying for their highest speed internet and only getting 8.25Mbps. If I could, I would change services but, alas, its my only option. Darn you internet and a graduate student's dependence upon you.
I am a biologist and my life is crap!