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February 23, 2004

Cats & dogs

Dogs are very similar genetically but variant phenotypically. Dog breeds differ in behavior, though some of them have only come into existence in the past few hundred years.

But turn to one species of cat, the cheetah, which shows shocking homogeneity at key functionally important locii because of several population bottlenecks (like HLA). On the neutral regions of the DNA mutational changes can build up because there is no functional constraint-and so here cheetahs display more diversity.

Update: Here are some articles on cat genomics. Seems like a work-in-progress. Cats are to my knowledge more specialized predators than dogs-so perhaps they have less genetic diversity that is amenable to selective breeding.

Posted by razib at 12:52 AM