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NPR

 

At this point it's just an interesting hypothesis, but it's possible that understanding cat coloration could help scientists understand resistance to infectious diseases.
 
Here's the connection. Stephen O'Brien and colleagues at a variety of institutions including the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala., and Stanford University in California have worked out some of the genetic pathways that explain why "some cats are spotted, some cats have stripes, some cats have what we call blotches, and other cats don't have any of that, they just have a black or a lion-like color," says O'Brien.
 
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