Bassingbourn black fox killed by car to be tested by scientists

16:37 30 March 2012

The black fox spotted in Bassingbourn. Photo by John Moore

The black fox spotted in Bassingbourn. Photo by John Moore

Archant

THE black fox of Bassingbourn which was killed by a car yesterday (Thursday) will be tested by scientists to see if the mystery behind its existence can be revealed.

The fox was spotted in the area last week, with the Crow featuring video footage and pictures of the animal.

But shortly afterwards, it was hit by a car between Royston and Bassingbourn. It has now been delivered to the Life Sciences Department at the Anglia Ruskin University, with plans to test it to discover the cause of the genetic mutation.

Helen McRobie, a lecturer in biomedical sciences at the university and world-leading expert on genetic mutations involving black squirrels, plans to test the animal shortly.

She told the Crow: “I’m going to do some DNA tests to see if I can find the mutation that’s causing this.

“There are two likely genes. It could be the same gene that causes melanism, which is found in black squirrels, or it could be a different one. If it’s not one of these two, it will be very difficult to know what it is.

“Testing can be quite quick if it’s the gene I think it is. If not, it could be almost impossible.”

Dr McRobie first heard about the fox after getting being notified by a colleague.

The animal is now being frozen until she is ready to begin her tests.

“I had an email which said it might interest me, and I said ‘yes, it would’,” she said.

“I got round to the fox as soon as I could. Someone had got there first, but the fox has come to us now. I’m going to get testing on it as soon as I can.”

Black foxes are uncommon, with sightings of the animals rare. Sightings of other mutated species have also been discovered, notably the black squirrel, which was first spotted in Letchworth GC.

“It’s popped up in all sorts of foxes and rabbits too. It’s relatively rare, but it happens,” she added.

Related articles

0 comments

More news stories

Yesterday, 20:16

The Comet and Royston Crow’s new editor has vowed to ensure truth, integrity, and a community focus remain at the heart of what both newspapers stands for.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

More than 100 people in Reed headed to a one-night-only pop-up pub session at the weekend, organised by campaigners fighting to reinstate their village watering hole.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Police have released the recording of the call murder suspect Ian Stewart made to police to report his partner Helen Bailey missing – four days after he is alleged to have killed her at their Royston home.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Two men were arrested after a fight broke out at a pub in Royston town centre yesterday evening.

”North

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up