If you love Lil Bub, let’s wear Lil Bub Rest In Peace 2011 2019 Shirt or Sweatshirt, Crewneck Hooded to pray for her. At the beginning of her life, Lil Bub wasn’t feeling well. The little cat could hardly walk. She was born with several malformations: She suffers from osteopetrosis, a bone disease in which the tissue stiffens. She also has one extra finger per paw (polydactyly), no teeth, short legs, dilated eyes and a short muzzle. That’s why her tongue almost always hangs out. Lil Bub is heartrending. But experts predicted that her condition would worsen. But with the help of therapies and medication, the cat learned to stand, walk and climb.
Today, Lil Bub is an Internet star. She has over two million followers on Facebook. Struts, plays and purrs in lots of Youtube videos. Even throws a talk show. She was seen with Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle Obama and Robert De Niro. And now Lil Bub is supposed to bring light into science, into genetics. Because the molecular biologist Daniel Ibrahim, born in Bremen and raised in Friesoythe, came across the cat – and immediately knew what to do. “I had the evening off, surfed around on the Internet and came across the documentary about Lil Bub,” says Ibrahim. “First of all, I thought the cat was just cute. Then he became aware of her malformations. He spoke with his colleague Darío G. Lupiánez. The two quickly agreed: “We want to find out what mutation Lil Bub has.” They wrote an e-mail to the owner Mike Bridavsky. He and his famous cat live far away, in Bloomington, Indiana.
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Nevertheless, as Ibrahim tells us, Bridavsky was immediately thrilled. “We only need three milliliters of blood from the cat.” So it’s no problem to realize the project from a distance. So Lil Bub doesn’t have to do experiments either. With the blood sample, which is already available, the researchers can sequence Lil Bub’s genome, i.e. decipher its composition. Ibrahim and his colleague Lupiánez are also working on similar projects at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. On behalf of their boss, a human geneticist, they are looking for mutations that lead to malformations of the hands, i.e. more or less than five fingers. The problem is that sequencing costs 6000 euros. The expensive ones are the chemicals you need. For Ibrahim, Lupiánez and Uschi Symmons – the third member of the research group – Lil Bub is a hobby, a project that they implement alongside their work. Because Lil Bub is an Internet star anyway, they decided to let their life as science cats also take place on the Internet. They created an entry on the Internet platform “Experiments” and collect money for sequencing via crowdfunding. In a blog they write about Lil Bub and her research progress.
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They seized the opportunity to implement a scientific project that, thanks to the cute cat, is also suitable for the masses. “In this way we can show what genetic mutations are,” says Ibrahim. “This is a complicated topic that only a few people deal with. Through Lil Bub they have gained the attention of scientists, cat fans, die-hard Lil Bub fans and people with five-fingered cats all at once. “Lil Bub interests everyone,” says Ibrahim. But what does the project bring to people? “Nothing for now. It’s classic basic research.” But because the cases are so rare, each individual is interesting for research. In addition: “Many findings are transferable to humans”. Treatment methods are also similar. “And many rare diseases result in a pot of diseases. Patients need to be treated. Even if there are only a few. The scientists decided to sequence a piece of Lil Bub’s DNA. So that the time until the financing went by faster and there was something to post on the blog. Ibrahim did not expect a result from it. Then the surprise: They actually found a mutation in the DNA. “Scottish researchers had already described them in 2007,” says Ibrahim. As a cause for polydactyly, thus extra finger with cat paws.
Second, even more astonishing: Lil Bub is very likely a distant relative of Hemingway’s cats. Ernest Hemingway – exactly the one who wrote the novella “The old man and the sea” and drank quite a lot – was “cat crazy”. “With ‘Snowball’ he had been given a cat with mutation,” Ibrahim says. “As it is, they multiplied. After some time, several dozen cats lived on Hemingway’s estate in Key West. “In his will, the writer ordered his descendants to take care of the cats with his inheritance.” About half of today’s cats have six fingers, says Ibrahim.He is “animalistically excited” about the further results after genome sequencing. Prior to DNA analysis, he was hoping for a single new mutation in a known gene that is responsible for polydactylysis and osteopetrosis. After the DNA analysis, which already produced one mutation, Ibrahim believes he will find a second mutation in the sequencing. “But I won’t put my hand in the fire for that,” says Ibrahim. “I’ve been wrong before.” In the meantime, they have collected the money for the sequencing. At the end of June they will probably have the data, then the analysis will begin.
“We filter out all mutations,” explains Ibrahim, “and assess whether they cause disease.” 50 genomes of healthy cats help to do this. Because: “We will find hundreds of mutations in Lil Bub,” says Ibrahim. In order to distinguish between the harmless and the disease-causing ones, the comparative material is good. A professor of cat genetics from Michigan and a professor who is a specialist in bone malformations are supporting the three. But what happens if Ibrahim and his colleagues find no more mutations in Lil Bub? “Then that’s how it is for now. But our project is transparent, others can participate. Maybe they’ll find something, as Lil Bub Rest In Peace 2011 2019 Shirt. In any case, some bioinformaticians have already offered their services. Ibrahim knows that a whole series of cases remain unsolved. Then a new case emerges, one compares and finds a match. “If we don’t find anything at Lil Bub’s, we’ll have the data and be able to find something in the future.”