For a while now, "Venus the Two Face Cat" has held sway as the internet's choice for most visually striking feline. New Republic facetiously named her the "queen of the internet" and she has over 1.4 million followers on Instagram. But if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it's that all those who reign, only reign for so long. Which means, yes, there is now a new contender for feline ruler of the internet, one with perhaps even more striking coloring. Her name is Quimera.
Laughing Squid picked up on Quimera, who has her own Instagram profile with 33,000 followers — slim relative to Venus, but again, we're literally talking about following cats. Quimera is a tortoiseshell cat, who's marked half black and half orange, most starkly on her little pretty kitty face. She also has some bonkers heterochromia going on, giving her one Night King-blue eye and one that's a kind of sandy orange.
As for the genetics behind the scenes of this lovely potpourri of phenotypic traits, Columbia University Professor of Genetics and Development Virginia Papaioannou told New Republic that she would not call the situation with Venus — similar to that of Quimera — an example of a true chimera. She said that it is, instead, "a fairly straightforward example of X-inactivation mosaicism." Professor Papaioannou is referring to mosaicism, which occurs in mammalian females, who all carry two X chromosomes, as opposed to males who have an X and a Y. While the two X chromosomes in mammalian females have identical genes, at certain points, or loci, along the genome, there are different alleles, or different versions of the same gene.
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The X-inactivation mosaicism occurs in the early embryo, when each cell randomly inactivates one copy of the X chromosome. This inactivation is then passed on to all of the descendants of the cell. As for males, because the Y chromosome doesn't contain a locus for certain genes, like the orange fur gene, there's no chance of an XY male having both orange and non-orange genes simultaneously because it only has one option from its one X chromosome. Although there is a case where males can have two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome. But that's another genetic story.
What do you think about this gorgeous and genetically fascinating kitty? Are you a Venus diehard or are you ready to move over to the Quimera camp? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: Webbzo Online