And so the slippery slope into Frankenkitten began but breeders threw caution to the wind without considering the consequences. They were not certain this mutation was 100% safe yet because these curly-haired kittens were cute, instead of being euthanized to protect nature, they simply used their profits and lobbied to call it a new breed: the Selkirk Rex.
Now, Big Kitten even makes more money by registering Selkirk Rex breeders(2) throughout the world, and their cats are popular among the gullible public who assumes they are safe, but is anyone even thinking about the consequences of the mutation? Shouldn't there be a law against this sort of Weird Science? At least a warning label?
Researchers are looking into it but these are the same biologists who have declared modern food and medicine safe and raw sprouts and milk dangerous, so we know they can't be trusted. They have termed this mutation SADRE, or Selkirk Autosomal Dominant REx, and say it likely happened 8 or 9 generations ago. 25 years, and scientists are just now looking into this abomination of nature.
Serina Filler from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna , cuddles a dangerous genetic mutation. Credit: Vetmeduni Vienna/Filler
We are in danger. If vampires existed and reproduced at the rate of these kittens, all of humanity would have been dead within 3 years, yet Big Kitten continues to insist they are safe without any proof. They don't even care which Selkirk Rex cats are homozygous (carry two copies of the mutation) or heterozygous (with one mutated and one normal copy of the gene) they just sell whatever their marketing groups tells them people will buy, because these evil corporations only care about making money. Oh, heterozygous cats have shorter ears, a more rounded head and a fully curled coat? Let's have a special on those!
Sure, they claim this cat breeding is closely controlled, but there is no spot checking by government officials. It's not like they are organic farmers, so we can't just trust them with no oversight. Worse, they are genetically polluting the entire world by mating Selkirk Rex cats with Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, British Shorthairs and British Longhairs, you name it. Anything to make a buck.
Biologists claim this breeding with other cats is not to create a Frankenkitten Army so corporations can control cat purchases and drive out Organic Cat but rather to maintain a "healthy level of genetic diversity."
Yeah, right. What's next? Vaccines don't cause autism?
Citation (this part is real): Serina Filler, Hasan Alhaddad, Barbara Gandolfi, Jennifer D. Kurushima, Alejandro Cortes, Christine Veit, Leslie A. Lyons and Gottfried Brem, 'Selkirk Rex: Morphological and Genetic Characterization of a New Cat Breed', Journal of Heredity DOI: 10.1093/jhered/ess039
(1) I tried to write this the way Grist.org writes about everything in science. How did I do?
(2) Despite creating an entire industry, no money or recognition is given to the descendants of that prototype. Maybe they should have named her Henrietta Lacks Rex.