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Important New Cat Science

Your blotchy tabbies are mutants. Go ahead and sign them up for The X-Men.

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Science, Helmi Flick / AP

This photo made available by Science magazine shows cats with the "mackerel" tabby pattern (top row), and "blotched' tabby pattern (bottom row).

Scientists say they've now found the gene that sets the tabby pattern. Cats with narrow stripes, the so-called "mackerel'' pattern, have a working copy of the gene. But if a mutation turns the gene off, the cat ends up with the blotchy "classic'' pattern, researchers reported on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 in the journal Science.

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