Calico Cat Genetics May Help Humans With Obesity

Calico Cat Genetics May Help Humans With Obesity

Scientists in California are examining the ways that female feline genetics, mainly those that create the distinctive coat of female calico cats coloring might be able to help human beings with obesity. Female mammals have two copies of the X-chromosome, but they really only require one. Because of this, the other is basically switched off. Calico cats end up having black fur genes in one of their X-chromosome and orange inside the other. The turning off of one of the X chromosome in each of the cells creates the quilt of colors on a cat’s coat.

Elizabeth Smith, who works in the anatomy department of University of California, talked about how the genetic glitch which makes the coats is able to let researchers better understand  turning some genes off in order to control what traits show up and which ones do not. She stated that by uncovering how just one X chromosome is deactivated will aid in the explanation of genetic control. This means that changes in gene activity can be passed down without altering any DNA code. It might also help other answer other questions such as if obesity is sent down through the generations.

The nucleus of a cell has its DNA, but even though the DNA structure might have been determined over than 50 years ago, no one has been able to see the DNA inside an intact nucleus, Smith added. Their findings might help other scientists learn how to turn off just the one type of gene without completely altering the DNA order. By finding out just exactly how a single cell switches off a chromosome would be able to give clues on how various kinds of genes are turned off or on without disturbing the original DNA arrangement.

Calico cats have individual coats due to the silencing of one of their X chromosomes. Researchers worked to find how one X chromosome might actually become totally inactive. A group of researchers, led by Smith, decided to use x-ray tomography to see the DNA within the intact nucleus. They attained some high resolution views of the intact nucleus and by using a fluorescence microscope with the x-ray microscope; they were able to find one particular chromosome, the quiet X chromosome inside the cells of females.

When the group completed the visualization, they were startled to see such a wide variation of fundamental organization inside the chromosome. They were able to show a significant substructure in the organization of the chromosome. It involved three separate domains of opposing amounts of chromatin. With new fluorescent probing, the team will be able to begin identifying the location of certain genes inside the DNA’s tangled network inside the nucleus. Because the scientists combined the two imaging methods to see the gene being inactive inside in calico cats, they feel they can soon do it in humans as well.

In each cell in females, one of the X chromosomes shuts down in a basically chance process. Scientists are hoping that eventually they might be able to use the same method to classify certain patterns in sex related genetic illnesses, and possibly may even be able to turn them off. Also too maybe obesity can be stopped in its tracks. All of this due to the study of female feline genetics and mainly of those that create the distinctive coat of female calico cats coloring could possibly one day help human beings with the problem of obesity.

By Kimberly Ruble


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