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Weird mutant rabbits walk around on two legs

March 27, 2021 | Comment icon 7 comments

Ever seen a rabbit doing a handstand ? Image Credit: YouTube / Science News
Scientists believe that they have determined why a peculiar strain of rabbit walks around doing a handstand.
The rabbits, which for the last 100 years have walked around on their two front legs, had left geneticists scratching their heads, but now a new study has revealed that their odd behavior is all down to a genetic mutation that could have been hidden in their genetic code for generations.

Native to France, the rabbits were first identified after a domesticated one was found living in a Parisian suburb in 1935. The animals walk around normally on four legs most of the time, but if startled or in a rush, they suddenly lift themselves on to their front legs and do a handstand.

It is now believed that the strain - known as the Alfort jumper - is also more prone to blindness.
"The strain has been kept since then to study ocular malformations and pathological locomotion," study co-author Miguel Carneiro from the University of Porto in Portugal told Gizmodo. "Rabbits carrying this mutation would not be able to survive long in the wild due to its deleterious effects."

The mutation in these rabbits appears to affect what is known as the RORB gene.

"What's happening when you're moving is that you have these neurons firing all the time, and they coordinate muscle contractions and receive feedback on the balance of the different limbs," said study co-author Leif Andersson from Uppsala University in Sweden.

"This coordination of muscle contraction is not correct in these rabbits."

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by South Alabam 10 months ago
I suppose a tortoise has a chance in a race now.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Bendy Demon 10 months ago
This is really another sad and selfish testimony to human arrogance to create something to appeal to human sense of 'aesthetics' which comes at the price of the animal/plants well-being. We do this repeatedly to every animal we exploit without ever giving a single thought to the repercussions of our actions.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Susanc241 10 months ago
I read the article to mean an original version of this rabbit was found in Paris in 1935, and was not deliberately bred or engineered. That they have since allowed more to be bred, especially in more recent times is perhaps not defensible.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 10 months ago
A lot of genetic mishaps are staying because of our stupidity... For example, that rabbit  would not survive in the wild and would be culled down fast. Just don't let them reproduce.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 10 months ago
Wow. Weird.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Abramelin 10 months ago
Yeah, weird indeed. Like most of the weird news that comes to us close to the first of the next month.  
Comment icon #7 Posted by jethrofloyd 10 months ago
Weird and sad.

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