View Full Version : Permakittens

Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:13 PM

Right now I’ve got research proposals on my mind, and I really wanted to package this idea in the form of an RP, but it’s not going to work out. So I’ll just put it out there and maybe someone could make it happen. One word: Permakittens. Everybody loves kittens. The only thing wrong with them is that they turn into cats. So we’ll make genetically modified cats that never get big. I’ve bounced this off a couple of honest-to-goodness biologists who assured me it is 100% doable and even gave me some tips.


My Permakittens will effectively be dwarf cats. Dwarf kitties are a known thing (”Teacup Cats”) and are highly sought-after in some circles. You can read all about them at Messybeast.com, your complete guide to mutant animals. Dwarfism can occur when the pituitary gland produces an insufficient amount of growth hormone. So there’s at least a couple of ways to induce this condition.

1. More involved, but probably more profitable in the long run
The Permakitten would be a transgenic conditional growth hormone cat. I’d have 2 sets of cats. One (we’ll call him Mr. Pibb), the conditional kGH knockout cat would be genetically modified so that the gene encoding kGH would be flanked by the Lox encoding sequence. We’re gonna have to bust out some Cre/Lox technology here[1]. Lox is a 34-base long recognition element for the Cre enzyme, a site-specific DNA recombinase that excises the DNA between Lox domains and joins the cut DNA strand back together.

The second animal, Ms. Shortypants, would be the activator cat. Ms. Shortypants carries the gene for Cre recombinase. Either kitty is perfectly find by itself, but when Ms. Shortypants and Mr. Pibb make a baby, the kGH gene will be excised and it will not produce growth hormone. Thus a Permakitten is born. This system is incredibly smart because you need *both* animals to make the Permakitten, preventing competitors from simply buying one of your pets and breeding knock-offs. Ie: some Monsanto-esque genetic trickery ensuring you are the world’s sole supplier of Permakittens on-demand, giving maximum $$$.


2. Less work, somewhat imperfect:
You could synthesize a small-molecule inhibitor of the the kitty grown hormone receptor. By blocking the kGH receptor, the hormone can’t function properly and you end up with one (1) Permakitten. Of course you need to be constantly administering the drug in order for it to work. So you could sell Permakitten-Brand Cat Food with the guarantee that your cat would never grow up. The downside here is that someone else could swipe your structure and make analogs, like sildenafil (Viagra) -> vardenafil (Levitra)[2].

Anyway, I think it’s a good idea and it would probably work. I personally would shell out some cash for my own Permakitten. What if you could even pick out the color?

[1] ie: license it from DuPont
[2] move one nitrogen and methyl -> ethyl, are you kidding me??

Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:17 PM
When I was 7, I told my mom I didn't know if I wanted to get married, but if a guy invented a way to make puppies stay puppies and kittens stay kittens, I would marry him in a heartbeat.

Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:18 PM
bonsai kittens (http://www.shorty.com/bonsaikitten/index.html) are easier. and cuter, in my opinion.


Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:39 PM
I like to keep my cat a kitten by stunting him emotionally.

Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:49 PM
I just wish my cat hadn't died last year.

Monday, Sep 25th 2006, 03:53 PM
I just wish my cat hadn't died last year.