Study: Cats cannot taste sweets

Jul 25, 2005

United States and British researchers announced Monday they have found a defective gene that makes it impossible for cats to taste sugar or other sweets.

Researchers at Philadelphia's Monell Chemical Senses Center in collaboration with Britain's Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition found a defect in a gene coding for part of the mammalian sweet taste receptor can account for cats' indifference to sweets.

Xia Li, a molecular geneticist at Monell, said the mammalian sweet receptor is composed of two protein subunits, known as T1R2 and T1R3. Each is coded for by a separate gene.

In the study, reported in the July inaugural issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) Genetics, the researchers show a defect in the gene encoding the T1R2 protein in domestic cats.

Monell researchers also detected the same gene defect in tigers and cheetahs, suggesting it is common throughout the cat family.

"This type of gene is known as a pseudo gene and is somewhat like a molecular fossil," said Li. "It presumably once coded a functional protein, but no longer does so."

The data will be presented during the Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium scheduled for September in Washington.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Changing dinosaur tracks spurs novel approach

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ferns borrowed genes to flourish in low light

Apr 14, 2014

During the age of the dinosaurs, the arrival of flowering plants as competitors could have spelled doom for the ancient fern lineage. Instead, ferns diversified and flourished under the new canopy—using ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

3 hours ago

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...