Question Video: Understanding Environmental Effects on Fur Growth and Color of Himalayan Rabbits | Nagwa Question Video: Understanding Environmental Effects on Fur Growth and Color of Himalayan Rabbits | Nagwa

Question Video: Understanding Environmental Effects on Fur Growth and Color of Himalayan Rabbits Biology • First Year of Secondary School

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In Himalayan rabbits, the genes for fur color produce a dark fur pigment in cold areas of the animal body such as the feet and ears whereas the remaining warmer areas have light fur color. From the provided figure, what do you expect will happen after putting an ice pack on a shaved part of a Himalayan rabbit’s back?

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Video Transcript

In Himalayan rabbits, the genes for fur color produce a dark fur pigment in cold areas of the animal body, such as the feet and ears, whereas the remaining warmer areas have light fur color. From the provided figure, what do you expect will happen after putting an ice pack on a shaved part of a Himalayan rabbit’s back? (A) White fur will grow on the shaved part. (B) Dark fur will grow on the shaved part. (C) No fur will grow on the shaved part. Or (D) white fur will grow on the shaved part, while the fur on other parts will become dark.

Fur color is encoded by specific genes in the Himalayan rabbit, as described in the question. When the gene for dark fur color is expressed, a functional protein for dark fur pigment is produced. Some genes are always expressed, and some gene expression can be turned on or turned off depending on environmental conditions.

The question tells us that dark fur pigment is found in areas that are usually cold in the rabbit’s body. We can therefore assume that the dark fur pigment gene is expressed when the temperature is below a certain point and that it is not expressed when the environment is warm.

In the absence of the expression of the dark fur pigment gene, the fur is white. So what happens to a shaved spot when an ice pack is put on top of it? The spot would of course become cold, which, if our assumptions are right, would turn on the dark fur pigment gene. As dark fur pigment is produced by the cells in that area, we would expect that dark fur will grow on the shaved part.

So the correct answer to this question is (B). We would expect that after putting an ice pack on a shaved part of a Himalayan rabbit’s back, dark fur will grow on the shaved part.

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