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Rare Panda Genetics

When thinking of a panda bear, many people picture the quintessential black and white mammal. However, there are a few giant pandas living in a specific mountain range in China who have brown and white fur. Scientists have long been curious as to how their unique coloring developed, and the XX launched a study to find answers. By studying the genetics of the brown pandas, researchers found that their fur color is a result of natural genetic variation, meaning that the trait may be inheritable. Both parents must possess the recessive trait on a gene called Bace2 and pass it onto their offspring. When the offspring has two copies of the recessive gene, brown fur presents in lieu of black fur. The first brown panda was spotted in 1985, and only 11 have been seen since. In learning more about how the brown panda came to be, animal researchers can determine how best to breed and conserve the species. 

Image via CNN

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