The Genealogy of Cats

There’s an article in The Mercury News (the Bay Area – California) by Lisa M. Krieger about people working to track down the origins of house cats using the same DNA techniques that genealogists are starting to use in tracing their own human ancestors.

Excerpt from the article:

Cat fossils are few and far between, so feline genealogy has always been a bit of a mystery.

The scientists could track feline emigrations because of a train of mutations that accumulate in certain regions of DNA over time. Cats that went off in one direction have a distinct set of errors from those that traveled in a different direction.

On the basis of these mutations, scientists constructed a family tree of eight different cat lineages. By estimating the mutation rate, they can figure out the time that has elapsed for each lineage.

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