Now the Daily Mail does genetics


An intriguing photograph of a dog sporting two distinct colors of markings has set off speculation that it might be an extremely rare genetic mutation known as a chimera.

A chimera is an animal made from two different species and in Bull the dog\’s case that is suspected to be a black Labrador and a yellow Labrador.

Err, no. A chimera is an animal of a blend of two different sets of genes. The easiest way to think of it is as a Siamese twin that is just the one person. There\’s a spectrum therefore, from chimera through to non-identical twins.

Plus, of course, black and yellow labs are not different species, they\’re different breeds of the same species.

Chimeras are rare but not that rare. Reasonably (for some meaning of reasonably) common in cats and there\’s certainly been recorded cases of human beings.

8 thoughts on “Now the Daily Mail does genetics”

  1. Plus of course it’s not a “mutation”…

    I also liked “her different eye colors are caused by heterochromia”. Translate that into English, and you get “her different eye colours are caused by being-different-colours” 🙂

  2. You wouldn’t even describe black and yellow labs as different breeds, they’re the same breed just different colours. For example the lab who currently has his head on my feet is black, as was his mother- his sister however is yellow- I can’t remember if his father was black or yellow but it’s certainly possible (indeed probable) that two labradors of the same colour will have different coloured pups in a given litter. It’s just the same as hair/eye colour in people.

  3. The easiest way to think of it is as a Siamese twin that is just the one person

    That’s wrong. Identical twins arise when a single fertilized egg splits to form two genetically identically fetuses. Conjoined (Siamese) twins are identical twins who have not divided completely.

    Conversely, a chimera (in the sense intended here) arises when two fertilized eggs, which would usually develop into non-identical twins, join to form a single, genetically diverse, fetus.

    Btw, the Mail is talking nonsense also about the cat it pictures.

    Venus is officially recognized as a chimera cat because her genetic composition was tested and her different eye colors are caused by heterochromia.

    “Heterochromia” is just a fancy word meaning having different colours. So they’re saying that her different eye colours are caused by having different-coloured eyes. I very much doubt that this is an example of chimerism, because cats don’t usually have blue eyes – there has to be something else weird going on. (I note the bit about genetic testing, but I don’t believe it. The whole paragraph reads like something copied off the internet, including the spelling.)

  4. Just a reminder that this bundle of used toilet tissue is the newspaper read by the women who run the country.

    Which explains a great deal regarding the state of modern Britain.

  5. Every woman is a chimera, one x chromosome is silenced randomly in each cell. And they have the same coloured eyes…..usually.

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