Some genetics for the ginger (red) marble (classic or blotched) tabby Maine Coon male cat

This is a ginger marble tabby Maine Coon. As most ginger tabby cats are male cats I have decided that this is a male cat. In fact, about 80% of ginger tabby cats are male because females have to inherit two copies of the "ginger gene" (O).

Red classic tabby male Maine Coon cat
Red classic tabby male Maine Coon cat. Photo in the public domain

The marble or classic tabby is also called the "blotched tabby". The geneticists or breeders write down the genotype as A-B-D-mcmc. It differs from the mackerel or striped tabby with the addition of the mcmc allele.

The ginger tabby is sometimes called the red tabby. To the best of my knowledge, breeders normally refer to these cats as 'red'. The reference to "ginger" is normally a layperson's description as is marmalade or yellow - see link below.

RELATED: Orange, red, yellow, ginger or marmalade cats.

Once again, the pattern may be either mackerel, blotched, spotted or ticked tabby.

The hair strands of the coat are coloured by minute pigment granules deposited in the shaft as the hair grows. The granules are coloured by two sorts of pigment: black, otherwise known as eumelanin, and yellow otherwise known as pheomelanin.

The yellow band underlying the tabby pattern is called the agouti band because it occurs on all agouti hairs. You will see agouti colouration in many animal species including the hamster, mouse and of course the cat.

The classic tabby pattern represents excellent camouflage in the wild.

The gene responsible for the ginger coat is known as 'orange' and is symbolised by O. The colouration comes from only yellow pigment produced instead of a mixture of yellow and black in the tabby and black. Yellow is the term for the pigment granules which produces the colours: cream, yellow and red. The black tabby markings are replaced by red of the same pattern while the "intervening agouti areas become yellow..".

The O gene sex-linked. The male cat has only one X chromosome and consequently he can only be either O (yellow) or  o (non-yellow). The female has two X chromosomes consequently she can be one of three genotypes: OO (yellow), Oo (tortoiseshell) or oo (non-yellow).

Reference: Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians-Fourth Edition


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