Cat Genes and Heritage

The physical characteristics of any cat (its constitution, the length and the wave of the cloak, the color of the hair and its “tips”, the sex, etc.) are determined by the genetic structure or genotype, as denominated by the biologists.

Genetic Heap
When the spermatozoid fertilizes and ovule during the reproductive act, each one contributes with a unit of genes to the genotype of the fetus.

The genes are chemical components present in the chromosomes, structure with the form of a thread that is found inside the living cells and are composed of DNA molecules.

Each chromosome has a large quantity of genes and some of them have influence in the determination of the physical constitution (the phenotype) of the whelps.

Cats have 38 chromosomes (eight less than humans) in each cell. As the mother and father each have different genotypes and each of them contributes with only half of the chromosomes of the fertilized ovule, the whelps have a selection of different genes from that of their parents, in spite of being formed by elements of each of them.

Formation of Features
With two exceptions, the chromosomes are grouped in equal pairs that determine that features of the parents, so much physical as of other types, to go to the whelps.

The two exceptions are the sexual chromosomes, that can be the same or not. The female reproducer always contributes an x chromosome (feminine) and the male can contribute with either and x feminine or Y (male) chromosome. The combination of Y and Y is impossible due that females don’t contribute with chromosomes. Whereas, it is always the father who determines the sex of its whelps, as happens with human beings and most of the animal species.

The rest of pairs of chromosomes have genes distributed in a determined order, in a way in which genes associated to a determined physical characteristic (for example, determines the length of the hair) are found in pairs denominated alleles.

Only one of the genes of each allele goes to the whelps. If the two genes are identical (for example, if both are genes of short hair) there is no doubt that the whelps will have short hair. In this case it is said that the cat is homozigotic for length of hair. If one of the genes corresponding to the length of the hair is of short hair, it will be heterozigotics for length of hair and will have long hair.

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