White tigers are a colour morph of any subspecies of tiger whose fur is white or almost white with black to light ash-grey stripes, though it is not a separate subspecies itself. To date, the only known white tigers have been from the Bengal tiger subspecies.
Compared to orange tigers without the white gene, white tigers tend to be larger both at birth and as fully grown adults. In spite of their unusual coloration, their size can be advantageous in the wild. Heterozygous white tigers also tend to be larger than other orange tigers.
Currently, several hundred white tigers are in captivity worldwide, with about one hundred being found in India. Nevertheless, their population is on the increase. The modern white tiger population includes both pure Bengals and hybrid Bengal Siberians, however, it is unclear whether the recessive white gene came only from Bengals, or if it also originated from Siberian ancestors.
The existence of pure white Siberian tigers has not been scientifically proven, despite occasional reports of sightings of white tigers in the regions where wild Siberian tigers live. It is quite possible that the gene for white coating does not exist in the Siberian tiger population, since no pure white Siberian tigers have been born in captivity even though the Siberian tiger has been extensively bred during the last few decades.
The wild Siberian tiger population nearly went extinct during the middle of the 20th century, so it is also possible that the Siberian tigers carrying the gene for white coating died out during this period. More research is necessary before scientists can fully understand the genetic makeup of the Siberian tiger.
An additional genetic condition can remove most of the stripping of a white tiger, making the animal almost pure white. One such specimen was exhibited at Exeter Change in England in 1820.
Stripeless white tigers were thought to be sterile until Siegfried & Roy's stripeless white tigress Sitarra, a daughter of Bhim and Sumita, gave birth.
Another variation which came out of the white strains were unusually light-orange tigers called golden tabby tigers. These are probably orange tigers which carry the stripeless white gene as a recessive. Some white tigers in India are very dark, between white and orange.
White tigers appear frequently in literature, video games, television and comic books. Such examples include the Swedish rock band Kent, which featured a white tiger on the cover of their best-selling album Vapen & ammunition in 2002. This was a tribute to the band's home town Eskilstuna, as the local zoo in town had white tigers from the Hawthorn Circus as its main attraction. The white tiger has also been featured in the video for the song Human by the popular American synth-rock band The Killers. White Tiger is also the name of an American glam metal band from the 1980s.
Source from Wikipedia