The king cheetah is a rare mutation of the cheetah characterized by a distinct fur pattern. The cause of this alternative coat pattern was found to be a mutation in the gene for transmembrane aminopeptidase Q, the same gene responsible for the striped ‘mackerel’ versus blotchy ‘classic’ patterning seen in tabby cats. The mutation is recessive and must be inherited from both parents for this pattern to appear, which is one reason why it is so rare.
So my friend has a port wine stain, which is a type of birthmark, and we decided it looked like a map and just drew coastlines, mountains, cities and rivers there!
Yesterday, I finished the line-work on this guy, and I was brainstorming ideas. I didn’t feel like settling on a colour-scheme, so I just kept colouring.
Because I have an interest in this sort of thing, here’s a run down of the skin conditions pictured.
Port Wine Stain; A birth mark caused by a malformation of blood vessels. Most often on the face/head.
Vitiligo; The skin loses pigment over time, especially around extremities, often in symmetrical patterns, due to the death of the pigment-producing cells of the skin.
Freckles; Most common in fair-skinned people, the pigment-producing cells of the skin produce more melanin (pigment) than usual. They are affected by the sun, and become more pronounced with exposure.
Piebaldism; Characterized by a white forelock and patch on the forehead, piebaldism is a result of a genetic malfunction which causes the pigment-producing cells to stop working, despite their ability to produce melanin.
Mongolian Blue Spots; Most common in people in Asian, Oceanic, and Native American people, these birthmarks are a result of pigment-producing cells being trapped further under the skin than they normally would be. They usually manifest on the lower portion of the body, and truly are blue.
Albinism; True albinism is the result of a genetic disorder that causes the cells of the body to be unable to produce melanin. In many cases, albinism can cause various eye problems. In small animals, albinism causes their eyes to be red due to visibility of blood vessels; in humans, the eyes don’t always lack colour, but can appear pale blue, red, or even purple.
ALBINISM IN AFRICA:
Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition occurring in both genders regardless of ethnicity, in all countries of the world. It can happen to anyone if both father and mother carry the gene for it to be passed on even if they do not have albinism themselves. While numbers vary, in North America and Europe it is estimated that 1 in every 20,000 people have some form of albinism. In Tanzania, and throughout East Africa, albinism is much more prevalent, with estimates of 1 in 2,000 people being affected. Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light. Almost all people with albinism are visually impaired; they may have a shortened life span by lung disease or may develop life-threatening skin cancers.
In several African countries, it is believed that body parts of persons with albinism possess magical powers capable of bringing riches if used in potions produced by local witchdoctors. Some even believe that the witchcraft is more powerful if the victim screams during the amputation, so body parts are often cut from live victims.
“These are manifestations of the worst forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and can never be justified,” the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez said. “Under international human rights law it is the duty of the State to afford protection to persons with albinism against such barbaric acts.”