Let me begin by acknowledging that I know peanuts about celebrity cat “Lil Bub.” Actually, everything I’ve ever known about Lil Bub, I think I learned from this single, amazing Gizmodo article, published just this morning.
The article is, y’know, article-length—I guess, in modern parlance, you’d call it a “longread”—so I have tried to extract and synopsize the most salient points for you, below:
- Molecular biologists Daniel Ibrahim, Darío G. Lupiáñez, and Uschi Symmons are all about sequencing Lil Bub’s genomes.
- The researchers will be assisted by two geneticists—one specializing in humans, the other in cats. Yes, really.
- It’s a pricey venture, and only three days remain for the research team to crowdfund the capital for studying Bub’s DNA (the project is called “The LilBubome“).
- Just one drop of Lil Bub’s blood (with her owners’ permission, of course) will, hopefully, be the key to the researchers’ understanding of Lil Bub’s phenotype and, by extension, other genetic cat diseases.
- This research isn’t all fun-and-games. There’s enough genetic overlap between cats and humans (yes, really!), that studying Lil Bub’s rare diseases (osteopetrosis, extra toes, etc.) could have important ramifications for, like, all humankind maybe?
- Lil Bub is probably related to Ernest Hemingway’s cat. (Yes, really: most cats with polydactylism are!)
- Lil Bub’s full name is “Lillian Bubbles.” (I genuinely did not know this until today.)
Original by Jenn Frank