Health News

Research update

By Ruth MacPete

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DNA Testing Shows Promise

With the recent completion of the Cat Genome Project as reported in the November 2007 issue of the journal "Genome Research," the ability to test for the genetic causes of disease with a plucked hair sample or cheek swab is coming closer to science reality than science fiction. Researchers have sequenced the DNA of a 4-year-old Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon and hope that the data will allow them to better understand the genetic basis for diseases. This could lead to breakthroughs for both felines and humans, as many of the genetic diseases affecting cats are similar to those in people.

For example, Cinnamon's pedigree contains a mutation causing retinitis pigmentosa, a type of retinal degeneration that leads to blindness and affects an estimated 100,000 people in the United States alone. Besides genetic diseases, the data could provide insight into the genetic basis for susceptibility to infectious diseases that also could benefit people. For example, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is the genetic counterpart to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus responsible for AIDS.

**Get the April 2008 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article.**

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