Savannah cat story

Subject: Savannah cat story
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 12:40:15 +1000
On Tue, Aug 05, 2008 at 11:43:07AM +1000,  wrote:
> Thought I might throw a little fuel into the mix on this one. After doing
> a bit of reading, I smell rats rather than cats. I note that Penny Olsen
> was involved with the 2007 risk assessment for the hybrid cat which seems
> to raise the stakes a little from an ornithological angle. You can get
> both the 2007 and 2008 reports from the "claimants" site,

I don't know what the importers should have inferred from the 2007 report
but I thought it contained a significant error.  It makes this statement:
"Similarly, should any hybrids escape and interbreed their genes would
quickly be diluted by Domestic Cat genes"

I can't see how this is supportable, if the alleles are beneficial,
and its quite ecologically plausible the alleles are not neutral.

One of my first biology lecturers, Charles Birch (incidentally pictured
in the last weekend's SMH at 90) with Lewontin came up with evidence
in the 60s that introgression could be a significant evolutionary force.
And I gather there has been a lot more data since.

People are willing to pay large amounts of money for these animals
precisely because they are genetically novel to Australia and they are
an unacceptable environmental risk for the same reason.

You don't get hard-headed people like Ric Shine and Tony Peacock objecting
so stridently without good reason.


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