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Genetic Mystery of Bengal White Tiger Solved

Beijing, Deccan Chronicle, 25th May, 2013

Beijing, May 24: The strikingly beautiful, milky coats of white Bengal tigers are caused by a single change in a known pigment gene, SLC45A2, a new study has found.

The white tigers, a variant of Bengal tigers were discovered in the Indian jungles, and since then their unique coat colour has remained a mystery.

Now, scientists have discovered that their spectacular white coats are produced by a single change in a known pigment gene.

" The white tigers represents part of the natural genetic  diversity of the tiger that is worth conserving, but is now seen only in captivity," said Shu-jin Luo of China's peking University.

Luo and his colleagues advocate a proper captive management programme to maintain a healthy Bengal tiger Population, including both white and orange tigers.