Saturday, 17 June 2017

Cats In Science

Clone Kitty

In 2001, Operation CopyCat at Texas A&M University produced CC, the world’s first cloned pet.

The cat was cloned by transplanting DNA from Rainbow, a female three-colored (tortoiseshell or calico) cat into an egg cell whose nucleus had been removed, and then implanting this embryo into Allie, the surrogate mother.

Although CC is genetically identical to Rainbow, the two cats look nothing alike. That’s because a cat’s coat color is modified by epigenetic changes—meaning changes in the packaging around the kitten’s DNA—that happen in the womb. CC was still alive as of 2011, and she even gave birth to a few (perfectly normal) kittens.

Astronomy Cat


Snuggled in the arms of astronomer Edwin Hubble (yes, that Hubble), Nicolas Copernicus the cat was named after the Renaissance astronomer who dared assert that the Earth revolved around the Sun. The Huntington Library in San Marino, California, found a letter written by Hubble’s wife that insinuates that Nicolas may have helped Hubble uncover the secrets of the expanding universe:

“When [Edwin] worked in the study at his big desk, Nicolas solemnly sprawled over as many pages as he could cover. ‘He is helping me,’ Edwin explained.

Wireless Telegraph Cat


Legend has it that Albert Einstein once used a cat to explain how wireless telegraphs worked:

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

Spy Cats


Forget high-tech spy gadgets. In the 1960s, the CIA launched Operation Acoustic Kitty. The plan was to train cats—yes, cats—to eavesdrop on Russian conversations. With a microphone implanted in its ear, a transmitter near its collar, and an antenna in its tail, the first feline agent was deployed and promptly run over by a taxi. ☹ A partially redacted memo from 1967 concludes "the program would not lend itself in a practical sense to our highly specialized needs."

No comments:

Post a Comment