Genetics Picture

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The Chinchilla gene

Earlier one believed that chinchilla and shaded silver were only extreme varieties of silver agouti. Now many believe that there is a special gene responsible for these color variations (polygenes are also involved). The assumption is that this gene will cause to widen the light bands of the agouti hairs, which causes the whole hair, except the outermost tip, to become light. Even the single colored hairs on an agouti cat will be light. The gene doesn't work on non-agouti cats. The gene is called Wb (widening of band) and is incompletely dominant. WbWb gives shaded silver or shaded golden and wbwb gives a normal agouti coat. Cats with the genotype A- WbWb are also said to be tipped.

On newly born tipped and shaded kittens one can almost always see signs of tabby/mackerel/spotted. The kittens will get lighter for a long period before they get their final coloring.