Pharyngula

This cat is going to be insufferable

This cat is going to be insufferable

You may have heard we’ve got this satanic feline padding about the house now, getting into mischief — she has discovered my collection of cephalopodiana, and her favorite toy is one of my stuffed octopuses that she wrestles and bats around the floor. It’s like she’s rubbing it in.

Anyway, a new paper in Nature Communications describes a comparative analysis of the genomes of tigers, lions, snow leopards, and…housecats. I’m not letting her read it, lest she acquire delusions of grandeur (oh, wait, she’s a cat — she already has that.)

There’s nothing too surprising in the data; as usual, we discover that mammals (well, animals, actually) have a solid core of shared genes and the divergence between species is accounted for by changes in a small number of genes. They also exhibit a high degree of synteny — the arrangement of genes on chromosomes are similar.

(a) Orthologous gene clusters in mammalian species. The Venn diagram shows the number of unique and shared gene families among seven mammalian genomes. (b) Gene expansion or contraction in the tiger genome. Numbers designate the number of gene families that have expanded (green, +) and contracted (red, −) after the split from the common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) has 17,841 gene families. The time lines indicate divergence times among the species.

(a) Orthologous gene clusters in mammalian species. The Venn diagram shows the number of unique and shared gene families among seven mammalian genomes. (b) Gene expansion or contraction in the tiger genome. Numbers designate the number of gene families that have expanded (green, +) and contracted (red, −) after the split from the common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) has 17,841 gene families. The time lines indicate divergence times among the species.

But note the cladogram on the right, and this bit of information we must keep from the cats.

The tiger genome sequence shows 95.6% similarity to the domestic cat from which it diverged approximately 10.8 million years ago (MYA); human and gorilla have 94.8% similarity and diverged around 8.8 MYA.

The difference between a housecat and a tiger is a mere ten million years. If only they knew…

I plan to allow this cat to continue to play with my cephalopods. Distraction, you know.


Cho YS, Hu L, Hou H, Lee H, Xu J, Kwon S, Oh S, Kim H-M, Jho S, Kim S, Shin Y-A,Kim BC, Kim H, Kim C-u, Luo SJ, Johnson WE,Koepfli K-P, Schmidt-Küntzel A, Turner JA, Marker L et al. (2013) The tiger genome and comparative analysis with lion and snow leopard genomes. Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2433 doi:10.1038/ncomms3433

Comments

  1. [...] By PZ Myers [...]

  2. #2 jane
    October 4, 2013

    Congratulations to the cat on her acquisition of a new pet biologist, which should give her many years of happiness. (You know that’s how it works, I assume.)

  3. #3 Marco
    October 6, 2013

    Excuse me? *Delusions* of grandeur?

    Better never ever let her know you wrote that. Remember, she watches you at night. She has claws. She will know how to blame the dog (even if you haven’t got a dog).