Double-colored animals are the latest trend over the internet. Today these Argentine cats named Chimera Cats sweep the people with their also unusual face.
The fact is that this genetic accident is not so rare in nature and that its owners have nicknamed Chimera, a creature from Greek mythology that consisted of a strange hybrid between animals, it is no coincidence.
In genetics, scientists call the natural phenomenon by which an individual’s DNA is made up of the cells of at least two different original embryos, a chimera.
It is a rarity in which two embryos, with different genetics, fuse to become a single organism. However, the bifid appearance of these cats may simply have to do with their chromosomes and the color gene.
The genetic accident suffered by the Chimera cat is truly hypnotic, since it symmetrically divides its two antagonistic faces in the middle, one of the black cats with blue eyes and the other of a tabby cat with green eyes.
What Really are Chimera Cats?
It seems incredible that the chance of nature can do something like this, with such symmetry and aesthetics, appearing to be predestined to fly through the air on the internet.
This curious anomaly can have several scientific explanations, the first and most amazing is that the Chimera cat was a real genetic chimera.
For millennia, chimeras were literally legendary, since they came from classical mythology, where Homer described strange beings made up of different parts of animals: “ahead of a lion, in the middle a goat and behind a snake”.
Science later coined the term chimera, but to explain a phenomenon perhaps less fantastic than that of the Greek myths.
The word describes any creature that contains a fusion of genetically distinct tissues. These can occur naturally if two twin embryos fuse soon after fertilization, with absolutely surprising results. For example, there may be the case of a ‘bilateral gynendromorph’, which has one side of the male body and the other of the female body.
Science Behind Chimera Cats
These animals are essentially two non-identical twins of different sex united at the center. Many species differentiate the sexes with very different markings and aspects, such as birds or insects, which can lead to a strange appearance, such as a northern cardinal sighted with half the red plumage and the rest gray.
However, there are many other examples among living things.
But the most normal thing in chimeras, far from resembling the Greek legend, is that the cells mix together forming a subtle mosaic of colors throughout the body, allowing them to act like the rest of the individuals within the species.
This could indicate that the cats Venus and Chimera are actually made up of two different cats, in fact, some studies suggest that 8% of non-identical human twins have absorbed cells from their brother or sister.
Are They Really Chimera Cats?
Chimera animals are actually very common in laboratories, they usually cross embryos from mice in the reproductive tract, where they expect them to physically combine when they have lost the outer protective layer.
Animals of different species such as goats and sheep have been crossed by this method, giving rise to a new type of sheep creature called ‘geep’.
The Reason Behind Their Unique Color
The issue of contrasting colors in Venus and Chimera cats could have to do with another less complex process.
These animals could simply be calico kittens, a very common type of cat that has several colors in its fur mixed with stains. This phenomenon called mosaicism has to do with the inactivation of the X chromosome: all female mammals have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and another Y, the case is that the chromosomes are activated since in each cell of the body one of the X chromosomes is inactivated.
This manages to balance the effect of the X chromosomes between males and females since women have twice as much and need half of them to be inactive.
For cats, the coat color gene is found on the X chromosome, which means that being randomly inactivated in each cell, they give rise to different expressions of the gene and with the colors and spots of different colors.
In other words, the contrasting colors of Venus and Chimera cats could be the result of the chance of the genetic expression of their cells, forming a symmetrical division of colors on the face.
The Reason Behind Their Unique Eyes
The explanation for the blue eye of both would also be in their genetics since both have white spots on the body (and blue eyes have white cats for lack of melanin). The white gene, therefore, affects the two eyes differently.
The answer, therefore, would be in genetic analysis of these cats, to really know if their DNA is made up of two different cat embryos or if, on the contrary, it is a rarity of calico cats.
True, the chimera cat is a much more unusual event than genetic mosaicism, but both Venus and Chimera cats are anything but ordinary animals.
The only thing we can make clear is that the adorable appearance of these cats is the result of a genetic accident and not from a photoshop hand of their owners.
Find out about another one of amazing cat breeds called Ragdoll Kittens.