The Genetics of Bramblestar’s Family by Flamecloud

Art by TheMoonfall

Flamecloud analyses Bramblestar’s family tree

Heyo Blogclan! Today, your local Earthling is throwing more genetic mumbo jumbo at you because she is bored and does not want to do her math homework!

Anyway, the last article I did on genetics was about Leafpool and Squirrelflight. Today, I am going to go over Brambleclaw/star’s family tree so that we can also look at Alderheart and Sparkpelt!

To learn more about cat genetics, check out my first genetics article or do some research on your own time, because genetics are cool!

Also, genetics can be a tricky topic. I first learned about these concepts when I was 11, and failed completely. I came back to them when I was 12/13, and that’s when I finally figured them out. However, that is because I am a NERD. As in, I spend at least an hour a week making genetically correct cat farms out of paper and correcting genetically incorrect family trees for fun. So, yep, after 2.5ish years of complete nerdiness, I should probably be decent at this. However, if you do not quite understand, that’s 100% okay.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff!

As with previous articles, I will be tracing Bramblestar’s family tree as far back as it will go, starting with his mother’s side.

Here’s the path I took for this first one, to figure out Goldenflower’s coloring. Bramblestar–>Goldenflower–>Speckletail–>Harepounce and Stagleap.

The first step is to figure out if Speckletail is genetically possible. She is described as a “Pale golden tabby she cat”. Now, that is not a scientific term, but what I picture for that description is a cream tabby. So we’re trying to see if Speckletail can be a cream tabby.

Cream is the combination of the recessive diluting gene and the fancy co-dominant, sex-linked ginger gene. (Check out previous articles on how those genes work if you would like).

For her to have a ginger gene, one of her parents must carry at least one copy of the ginger gene. Since it is not recessive, that will be visible in their coat patterns.

However, Stagleap is a grey tabby and Harepounce is brown. So, she can not have ginger.

Stagleap, as a grey tom, has to carry 2 copies of the diluting gene. This means that Speckletail definitely got one copy from him. And, since we can not prove that Harepounce doesn’t carry a copy of it, we’re going to say that it is possible for Speckletail to carry the dilute.

And, lastly, her tabby markings. As I have said in my other articles, tabby is controlled by more than one gene. But since Stagleap has the dominant “agouti” gene, it is possible for her to be a tabby.

In conclusion: Speckletail is actually a grey tabby she cat.

Smallear is a grey tom with no known parentage, so we are going to say he is genetically correct.

Now, let’s test Goldenflower, knowing her parents are a grey cat and a grey tabby cat.

Goldenflower is described as a pale golden she cat, so in official cat color language, cream.

Even if Speckletail had been a cream, it still would only be possible for Goldenflower to be a dilute tortie (See 1sr article for explanation). However, Speckletail is actually a grey tabby, so Goldenflower can not be cream, since neither parent carries ginger.

That makes Goldenflower just a grey cat, since her description mentions nothing of tabby stripes and she can not be a ginger. (Note: it is not actually possible to tell a genetically ginger tabby from a non-tabby ginger, since both will have stripes. However, for simplicity, I am saying that since she has no cannon stripes, she does not carry a tabby.)

Now, for the other parent: Tigerstar.

First, I will trace back Tigerstar’s male line, which can be followed back to the couple of Oakstar and Sweetbriar.

Their son, Pinestar, is described as a reddish-brown tom, AKA in official language, cinnamon or chocolate. Both of his parents are also brown, so it is actually impossible for Pinestar to not be brown since both brown genes are recessive. Conclusion: Pinestar is still brown.

Next, let’s look at Tigerstar’s mother, Leopardfoot. She is described as a “mottled raven-black she cat”. Her parents, Swiftbreeze and Adderfang, are tabby and white and tabby.

Technically, Swiftbreez must be a torti since her mother is a ginger, but this doesn’t affect Leopardfoot much, since she appears to have not inherited that gene.

Since the non-agouti gene is recessive, it is possible for Leopardfoot to not be a tabby even though both parents are. So, Leopardfoot: still black.

Now, here’s a big question: can Tigerstar be a tabby? :O or is our striped villain…….not striped?

The gene required for tabby is dominant, meaning that for a cat to have it one of their parents needs to have tabby. However, neither Leopardfoot nor Pinestar have tabby markings. That means that Tigerstar is a plain and simple black cat, with no stripes.

And finally, Bramblestar! (phew, it’s a lot of work, isn’t it?)

So, we have his parents: Goldenflower, who is not cream, but GREY! And Tigerstar, a tabby no more, a BLACK tom.

Looking at Bramblestar’s personna, he is a normal tabby cat. The genes for that are: A- (agouti), T-(gene controlling the type of tabby pattern), and BB DD (non chocolate and non dilute).

Since neither parent is tabby, (No “A” gene), he can not be a tabby. That leaves him with BBDD, making him a black tom.

That’s right, a black tom. (Just like Firestar 😛 )

To wrap this up and tie it in to the rest of my articles, let’s look at Squirrelflight (see previous article), who is really a tortishell, and our night colored Bramblestar’s children.

Alderheart is a dark ginger tabby with a white tail tip, and Sparkpelt is an orange tabby.

Let’s start with the tabby. Since it is dominant, one parent must have a tabby for the offspring to have a tabby. Neither do, so Sparkpelt and Alderheart can not either.

The same thing is applicable with the white markings on Alderheart’s tail. Neither parent has them (Squirrelflight can’t actually have her white paw), so he can not either.

Finally, ginger. As I’ve said before, ginger is very complicated, so I’m going to do a bit of a re-cap from a previous article.

Here is my exert about ginger:

“Basics: We each have two sex chromosomes. If you have two x chromosomes, “XX”, you are a girl. If you have a x and a y chromosome, “XY” you are a (biologically, for all of these) guy. Like all genes, you get one from your mom and one from your dad. If you get your dad’s “X” you are a girl (since your mom always gives you an x), if you get your dad’s “Y” you are a boy.

Ginger is a sex linked gene found only on the X chromosome. Girl cats, XX, can have no copies of it, Xn Xn, one copy of it, Xo Xn, or two copies of it, Xo Xo. Boys can be XnY or XoY, meaning they cannot have one of each.

Another fun thing about ginger is that it is also codominant. This only affects the girls, since they can have an “n” and an “o” at the same time. (Unless you have a special mutation that is XXY, which is sterile and how Redtail exists.)

So, cats that are XnXn are non ginger, cats that are Xo Xo are ginger, and cats that are XoXn are tortishell.

For the boys, they are either XnY, non ginger, or XoY, ginger.

Ginger covers up brown, so you can not tell if a ginger cat is “B-” or “bb”. It is also impossible to tell if gingers are “A-, T-” because all gingers will have at least faint stripes even if they aren’t genetically a tabby. The dilute form of ginger of cream. Cats that are “XoXn, B-, dd” will be blue creams, cats that are “XoXn, bb, D-” will be a chocolate tortie, and cats that are “XoXn, bb, dd” will be a lilac torti.”

For Alderheart, he gets his Y chromosome from his dad, (making him male), and also an X chromosome from Squirrelflight. Since she has one of each (XnXo), she could give him either. This makes it possible for him to be ginger. (XoY). Alderheart: just a ginger tom.

Next, Sparkpelt.

She gets one non-ginger X chromosome from Brambleclaw, and can get only one ginger chromosome from her mother. This makes her (XnXo), and a tortishell cat.

Well, that’s all for now! (Anybody still reading: thank you for your endurance)

Ask me if you have any questions, and let me know any cats you would like to see me look at!

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