MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: How come the coat coloration of the clone of Promothea is not the ...

Date: Sun Aug 28 16:52:56 2005
Posted By: Paul Nagami, Undergraduate, Biology, California Institute of Technology
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 1122355137.Ge

Apologies for the delayed reply! I just discovered the message in my spam
folder on receiving a reminder.

The tempting answer would be epigenetic modification. The foal is
genetically identical to the mother, but it's possible that methylation or
other alterations to the DNA have resulted in a different phenotype.

That's the tempting answer, and would probably get me full credit on a
genetics exam. But I think there's a better one. Charles Darwin mentions in
_The Origin of Species_ that the coloration of mules' legs can change as
they grow older - might not the same hold true for horses?

Google show it to be so!

Relevant bit:

"Point colors are unreliable indications of adult color as many foals are
born with almost colorless mane & tails. Many foals will not show signs of
their adult color until after the first shed. Lower leg colors on horse
foals are almost always lighter, generally ranging from silver to beige."

So, the reason the clone doesn't show its mother's leg color is that it is
freshly cloned, and so much younger than its mother. Should it survive to
be as old as its donor is now, I expect that its legs should change color
to match.

I hope this clears that up, and again, sorry for the delay.

Paul Nagami

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