Source: Forbes 

Researchers from the University of Helsinki and Wisdom Panel have identified a genetic mutation responsible for a new coat color pattern in Finnish domestic cats, named “salmiak.” This pattern, first observed in 2007 in a feral cat population, features black-and-white tuxedo coats with fur colored only at the base, becoming progressively whiter, and white tail tips.

The investigation began with genotyping tests, which did not initially reveal any known genetic explanations for the pattern. Focusing on the KIT gene, known for its role in pigment cell development, researchers performed whole-genome sequencing and discovered a 95,000 base-pair deletion downstream from the KIT gene in salmiak cats. This deletion affects KIT gene expression and is recessively inherited, requiring two copies of the mutation for the salmiak pattern to appear. The discovery enhances understanding of feline coat color genetics and may aid in preserving this unique trait through selective breeding.

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