We’re the LilBUBome team, sequencing the genome of LilBUB, to find the mutations that cause her polydactyly, osteopetrosis, and overwhelming cuteness, and learn about human diseases! AMA!
Hello Reddit! We are Daniel Ibrahim, Darío G. Lupiáñez, and Uschi Symmons, scientists specialized in developmental genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. With the blessing of LilBUB's owner, Mike Bridavsky, we will be sequencing the genome of this unique cat from a small blood sample.
LilBUB is famous for her unusual cute look, which is probably caused by genetic mutations. These mutations affected LilBUB’s development, which led to her having extra digits on every paw (polydactyly), bones that become more dense as she ages (osteopetrosis), and a short snout that causes her tongue to always stick out.
We’ve seen polydactyly and osteopetrosis individually in humans and other animals which made us wonder what led to BUB having a combination of the two. Just the other week, we found a mutation that probably causes her polydactyly. And even more amazingly, it turns out that she's distantly related to the cats of Ernest Hemingway!
Currently we’re crowdfunding for the costs of sequencing her whole genome over at https://experiment.com/lilbub, where we also post about the science and results as we go along.
The entire team will be around starting at 1 PM EST, but we'll start answering questions before then, so ask us anything about genetics, mutations, developmental disorders, how we got involved in all of this, or the magic of LilBUB!
Reddit posts on our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/LilBUBome/status/600297734562828288 https://twitter.com/LilBUBome/status/600259440768622592
On LilBUB's Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAMLILBUB/status/595656192267005953
Lab note on our Experiment page: https://experiment.com/u/U7X04w