Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Domestication of humans by the cat

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJune 29, 2007 12:43 AM
kitten.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

There's a paper to be published on domestic cat phylogenetics in Science tomorrow. National Geographic has a summary, but Forbes has a more thorough treatment. The short of it is that the maternal lineages (mtDNA) of domestic cats seem derived from the Near Eastern varieties . The acculturation of humanity toward domestic cats seems to have taken place gradually between 12,000 and 3,600 years ago, the presence of five distinct maternal lineages suggests that it wasn't one event, but several simultaneous parallel ones. Sedentary populations rooted around agriculture were the likely necessary environment for the emergence of the cultural co-evolution between cats and humans. Though this study is interesting, please note that the survey of female lineages is a small slice of the total ancestry. Male mediated hybridization wouldn't be picked up, and the interfertility of domestic and wild cats means there likely has been genetic exchange between the two groups over time. Update: Nick Wade in The New York Timehas more.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In