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Hi everybody, Kissy here! I’m really excited because this week I get to have the whole column all to myself! As you can see from my photo, I’m an orange tabby cat (which Mama sometimes calls a “marmalade cat”) and a quite beautiful one at that, I might add. When Mama adopted me and showed my pictures to the world, lots of people remarked on how rare orange female cats are. Mama says she’s seen quite a few orange girl cats, so together, we set out for some answers.
We interviewed Dee Walter Kruleski, a professor of biology at, who told us the facts about female orange cats and lots of other cool facts about cat fur color inheritance. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Kissy: I’ve heard that female orange cats are very rare. Dee: Well, it’s not that orange female cats are rare, it is simply that an orange cat is more likely to be a male. For a female cat to be orange, she must inherit two orange genes — one from her mother (orange, calico, or tortoiseshell) and one from her father (who must be orange). Ludovico Einaudi Primavera Midi Download Mac. A male cat needs only one orange gene, which he gets from his mother (orange, calico, or tortoiseshell).
Walbaum Grotesk Free Font. This is because the gene that codes for orange fur is on the X chromosome, and like humans, females have two Xs and males are XY. Genes on the X chromosome are said to be sex-linked. Here I am striking an elegant pose.
Photo copyright © JaneA Kelley, all rights reserved Kissy: Wow, so that means my father for sure was an orange cat. How cool is that? Is the same thing true for orange tabby (marmalade) cats? Mama says she’s seen a lot of female orange tabbies. Dee: Yes, although the striping pattern is coded for by a completely different gene. Kissy: Why is it super-rare to see a male calico cat? Dee: Because in order for a male to be a calico, he must have the feline equivalent of and he is an XXY male. Because a calico male has an extra X chromosome, he is most likely sterile (cannot father kittens).
Kissy: Can you explain a little bit about how fur color inheritance works in calico/tortoiseshell and orange cats? Dee: Well, orange fur is due to what is known as. It actually changes black pigment into orange! This is an example of gene interaction — where one gene changes the expression of another. Calico or tortoiseshell coloration is the result of something called (also known as dosage compensation). Female mammals (including humans) have one X in every cell inactivated (shut down) as an embryo.