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Lil BUB has Sonic Hedgehog Mutations!

Who is Lil BUB?

You’ve probably seen Lil BUB in action, she’s a celebrity cat with over 3million Facebook fans. She has her own website where she sells merchandise and of course her own YouTube channel with over a quarter of a million subscribers.

She is a feral kitten adopted by Mike Bridavsky from Indiana, America in 2011. And she is a little different from most cats. Each of her paws has an extra toe, her limbs are shorter-than-usual, she has huge green eyes, stopped growing at around four pounds, never developed teeth and her cute little tongue hangs out from her stunted jaw.

But Lil BUB is far from being a hideous monster. In fact, in this age of diversity, it was these quirks that made her so special, and her popularity grew rapidly after her first appearances on Tumblr and Reddit.

Crowd-funding genetic sequencing

Two Berlin scientists – Daniel Ibrahim and Darío G. Lupiañez approached Lil BUB’s parent Mike, to see if they could discover what made her so special. The team then engaged with Uschi Symmons to make it an open science project.

The LilBubome Project was borne. Over the next four years, they crowd-funded to raise the money needed to sequence her whole genome. As an open science project, the team provided regular updates about via blog, twitter feed and our facebook page.

Lil BUB should appear in the next X-Men movie!

Lil BUB Genome Project
An international team of scientists sequenced the genome of Lil Bub, one of the world’s most famous cats, to unlock the secrets of her mystique. (Mike Bridavsky/lilbub.com)

In early 2019, the results from the LilBubome project were published. And the scientific community were fascinated by how truly special this little cat is.

She actually has two different rare mutations. A Sonic Hedgehog mutation which results in her extra toes. And a type of genetic Osteopetrosis that results in her shortened stature.

Now we know why she looks so gorgeous. And we think she is ready for a guest appearance in the next X-Men movie!

How to Love a BUB.

How to Love a BUB

Posted by Lil Bub on Tuesday, May 30, 2017
OMG – we just love her soooo much!!

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Is your cat a little different? Share your story with us below.

Source
sciencemag.orgWashington PostbioRxiv
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