Charcoal is a special form of Agouti only known in Bengal cats. Charcoal cats have markings of a... more
The Agouti (agouti signaling protein, ASIP) gene produces a protein that regulates the distribution of black pigment (eumelanin) within the hair shaft. The dominant allele A produces hair shafts with alternating bands of yellow and black color, ending with black tips. The recessive allele a produces a cat that is self-colored (solid) when 2 copies of a are present. The effect of the agouti protein on orange pigment is limited, thus tabby striping may still be seen on cats that are a/a for agouti. The Agouti gene is responsible for the coat markings tabby. If a cat carries the Agouti gene (genotype AA or Aa), its coat shows the typical markings of tabby. If the cat is non-Agouti (aa), the coat is single-coloured (solid). The Charcoal gene (Apb) is very special as it is a result of the Asian Leopard cat Agouti gene. This explains why it is only seen in Bengal cats. Coat markings of a dark face mask and a dark thick dorsal stripe (cape) are also known as Zorro markings.
Bengal (Leopard cat)