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Radiation Studies: Night Vision Relatively New in Cats

night vision active in cat, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/quikchange/23058418/Washington, D.C. – A study released Monday has reported some shocking findings regarding your feline friend. Cats, common knowledge tells us, have the ability to see in almost total darkness. Their eyes are adapted in a way that gives them night vision, a quality humans lack (pirates being the noted exception). This night vision in cats has long been thought to be inherent and eternal, but a surprising new study out of Washington, D.C. finds that this is not the case.

Cats have not always possessed night vision, scientists are now claiming. Mark Gillian and Seth Arlinger are former cancer researchers who refocused their studies onto cat pathologies “because there’s more funding in it.” These two men have found that night vision in cats is actually a relatively new phenomenon, most likely dating back to the turn of the 20th Century.

The scientists believe to have isolated the night vision gene while performing comparative studies on modern house cats and the preserved mummies of ancient Egyptian felines. The discovery of an archaic “cat cemetery” last August in Alexandria, Egypt has been “a godsend in our ongoing quest keep federal funding rolling in and to make a living as a scientist” said Arlinger via phone on Tuesday. The over 250 mummified cat corpses have given Gillian and Arlinger much needed DNA samples. “We now have a great baseline for feline DNA pre-Industrial Revolution,” wrote Gillian in his grant proposal. And strays, rounded up off the streets of D.C., have given the two men their modern day subjects.

After testing the DNA of both groups of subjects, Gillian and Arlinger found that the modern cats possessed several extra genes that the Egyptian cats lacked. Among these (possibly mutant) genes was the gene that allows cats to see at night – the night vision gene.

The appearance of the night vision attribute is thought to be caused by the effects of radiation, though no one will go on the record of claiming this for sure. Increased exposure to radiation through appliances, nuclear testing, and pollution have had the unexpected side effect of giving cats the ability to see at night. Though not often discussed publicly, radiation is also being used on cat food as a pesticide and FDA guidelines are less stringent for food that is not intended for human consumption. Therefore, your furry friend is being exposed to radiation in his or her diet. Radiated food is not thought to have any harmful side effects, though animal rights groups have filed several law suits this week against pet food manufacturers and distributors claiming negligence.

Why this has affected cats and only cats still remains unseen, though young boys desiring what they see as “superpowers” are already buying up cat food. Gillian and Arlinger are working around the clock studying dogs and other animals, as well as a few humans, to try and better understand how the genetic change came about. In the mean time they are warning against the human ingestion of cat food and suggest instead that those who desire to see at night buy a flashlight.

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