Can twin cats have mirror image fur colors?

  • #1
Stephen Tashi
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Summary:
Is it possible for monozygotic twin cats to have fur colors that are mirror images of each other?
Is it possible for monozygotic twin cats to have fur colors that are mirror images of each other? Or does such mirror imaging rule out that two cats are monozygotic twins? In searching for images of "twin cats" on the web, I find a few photos of pairs that have mirror image fur colors. For example:

So I gather that mirror imaging of fur colors isn't impossibly rare. ( And I see, first hand, two kittens in my backyard that have mirror image fur.)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
BillTre
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I don't think that blotchy color patterns are all that well determined.

Blob-like patterns in Koi fish are not transmitted as a predetermined pattern.
The migration and some determinative developmental steps the pigment precursor cells go through leave a lot of statistical interactions involving small numbers of cells. So they can vary a lot.

Would there be symmetrical influences on how these interactions took place? Maybe.
Would they exactly replicate and pattern, but left-right flipped? Less likely.

On the cats: the white and brown pigment cells come from neural crest cells that migrate from the top of the neural tube.
A tightly controlled pattern of color formation mechanisms would make a symmetrical pattern. That is clearly not happening with these guys.
The differences in the pattern right vs. left side indicate the degree of sloppiness in these developmental controls.
 

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