Author Ernest Hemingway, whose image is that of a "macho big-game hunter and marlin fisherman" and who survived multiple wars, was also a keeper of cats, reports The New York Times. His house, which has become a museum, is home to 50 cats, many of which are polydactyl. As researchers at Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh found, the extra digit on the cats' paws comes from a disruption of how the Sonic hedgehog gene is regulated, a gene that is found across many different species. "The story of the origin of Hemingway's cats is one of finding deep genetic connections among very different animals — from fruit flies to chickens, mice, cats, and yes, even humans," writes Sean Carroll at the Times.
The Six Toes of Hemingway's Cats
Mar 15, 2011