Chris Heiny Ted and Mutations I just thought of an example counter to Ted's assertion that

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Chris Heiny Ted and Mutations Organization: Xerox Corporation, Webster NY From: (Chris Heiny) Message-ID: <> Reply-To: Newsgroups: I just thought of an example counter to Ted's assertion that all mutations (whether by his definition, or others) are deleterious: feline polydactyly (that is, multi-toed cats). While I don't have the reference with me (don't even recall the name - I'd have to search the library at home), here's the gist of it (as I remember): - most cats have 18 toes (5/front paw, 4/rear paw) - polydactyl mutants may have up to 30 toes (8 front/paw, 7 rear/paw). - poly may affect front paws, rear paws, or both ends, but both paws on an affected end will have the same number of toes - extra toes are fully functional - poly trait is dominant - poly appeared within past 400 years (first noted near Boston, Mass in the 1600s), and has spread since (the exact location of where it arose is uncertain). - 1/3 of cats in Boston area are poly at this time - polydactyly is not harmful in itself, and is not coupled with any other harmful condition. It may even be a beneficial mutation (better hunting/climbing), but has so far not out-competed standard toes. Having recently read Gould's `Eight Little Piggies' essay, I wonder whether feline polydactyly is the result of a new mutation, or a mutation that reactivated an older gene (if indeed, that older gene still exists).


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