Washington - Dario Lupianez is the author of dense scientific papers with titles including "Breaking TADs: How alterations of chromatin domains result in disease." Now he, as one member of an international team of molecular biologists, is also a co-author of a paper on the extraordinary genetics of celebrity cat Lil Bub.
Lil Bub is a kitten-size cat with 2 million Instagram followers, a talk show, a stage production, an album and a book. The new study reveals the weird DNA behind what is often described as her magical appeal.
"We can definitely say she's magical," said Lupianez, who lives in Berlin and who, like his colleagues, has never actually met Lil Bub in person. "I remember the moment when we first saw her on the Skype video and we were just like, 'Uhhhhh.' "
In some respects, Lupianez and his partners in this project, fellow Berlin resident Daniel Ibrahim and University of Pennsylvania's Orsolya Symmons, now know Lil Bub more intimately than pretty much anyone. They spent four years crowdfunding money to sequence the cat's genome, creating whimsical videos and a blog to demystify a complicated process, and analyzing Bub's genetic material to discover what makes her so very unusual.