Genetic mystery of Indian white tiger solved By Chinese Scientists. A team of genetic scientists led by Dr Shu-Jin Luo from Peking University in Beijing, using whole-genome sequences of white and normally-colored Bengal tigers, has revealed that a mutation in a single pigment gene, called SLC45A2, is responsible for the unusual coloration of white tigers.
“The white tiger, an elusive Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) variant with white fur and dark stripes, has fascinated humans for centuries ever since its discovery in the jungles of India. Many white tigers in captivity are inbred in order to maintain this autosomal recessive trait and consequently suffer some health problems, leading to the controversial speculation that the white tiger mutation is perhaps a genetic defect,” the researchers explained in a paper published online in the journal Current Biology. Continue reading