In Great Britain, a homeless kitten was found with no internal or external genitalia.

The cat, 15 weeks old and in perfect health, was named Hope by the Cats Protection Center in Gateshead, North East England, where it was found.

Basic image of a homeless kitten. Hopefully the kitten has been declared homeless, with a rare genetic variant that left him without male or female genitalia or reproductive organs.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

Fiona Brockbank, senior vet at Cats Protection, told the BBC: “There is an external possibility that some ectopic ovarian tissue will hide internally, but we think it is very unlikely.”

Experts say it could be a case of a very rare genetic disease called agenesis.

Peter Koopman, professor of developmental biology at the University of Queensland in Australia, said: Newsweek“As gender develops, any or more parts of the s*xual anatomy may develop atypically (eg, in shape or size,” dysgenesis “) or not at all (” agenesis “).

“It seems to be an agenesis, which would mean that the development path is completely blocked, not hindered, slowed down or enhanced,” Koopman added.

What makes the Hope case especially rare is the fact that the cat does not have genitals or reproductive tracts, which are separate systems of development.

“Oddly, the genetic circuits that control gonadal development are normally separate from those that control the development of the internal reproductive tract and again from those that control the development of the external genitalia,” Koopman said.

“So it’s hard to imagine how a single genetic mutation can block it all at once. Perhaps many mutations have occurred. The chances of this are very small, but that may explain why conditions like those in Hope Cat have never been recorded before. “

The development of the male internal and external genitalia in the uterus requires the secretion of certain hormones: if these hormones are not secreted, the female genitalia develops. Mutations or variants of the genes involved in the production of these hormones can lead to inters*x diseases, which affect about 1 percent of people.

Intergender is an umbrella term and includes variations in s*x chromosomes (determines s*x at the genetic level), in s*x hormones, and in the external and internal genitals, with some of these physical effects on the male to female spectrum, not just binary options.

Theresa Larkin, a hormone expert at the University of Wollongong in Australia, said Newsweek“In humans, s*xual development disorders include being inters*x, and this can present as ‘ambiguous genitals’ where the outer genitals do not look like women or men.

“There is no specific genetic mutation that causes inters*xuality. It can be caused by exposure to hormones in utero, or due to having an extra chromosome or missing a chromosome (not a genetic mutation) or a combination of developmental effects, ‘added Larkin.

Hopefully this condition won’t have a negative effect on the cat, according to the BBC.

Lisa F. Carver, a multidisciplinary health researcher at Queen’s University in Ontario, said Newsweek“It seems that the cat is able to engage in bodily functions (in this case urination is particularly important) and is otherwise healthy, which suggests that the prognosis for a healthy life is good.

“The main difference I predict is that the cat will not exhibit hormone-related behavior, so there will be no” marking territory “or hormone-related aggression,” Carver added.

All Hope won’t be able to do is reproduce or have s*x.

“The cat will obviously not be able to reproduce, but if it has no health problems, I don’t see any other effect on the cat’s life,” said Goran Strkalj, a professor at Flinders University in South Australia. Newsweek.

Hope is an example of genetic variation that is more common in humans and other animals than many people realize.

“Biologically it is not really as cut and dried as males and females, it has more of a spectrum with bell-shaped curves at the male and female ends,” said Surya Monro, an inters*x researcher at the University of Huddersfield in England. Newsweek.

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