Researchers Sequence Cat Genome

The DNA of a 4-year-old Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon has been sequenced.

Posted: November 1 2007 2 a.m. EDT

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Researchers Sequence Cat Genome
Researchers at the Cat Genome Project sequenced the DNA of an Abyssinian cat like the one shown here.
The similarity between the cat genome and six recently completed mammalian genomes (human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, dog and cow) allowed researchers to identify 20,285 putative genes.

Researchers say that the data will be useful for parentage testing, forensic analysis and studies of evolution, including the reconstruction of domestication processes, fancy breed development and ecological adaptation among the roaring cats.

Researchers also say that the genome sequence analysis will lead to health benefits for domestic cats as well as serve as a model for human disease, one reason why the National Human Genome Research Institute, based in Bethesda, Md., initially authorized the project three years ago.

Domestic cats have more than 250 naturally occurring hereditary disorders, many of which are similar to genetic pathologies in humans. For instance, Cinnamon’s pedigree carries a genetic mutation that causes retinitis pigmentosa. The degenerative eye disease affects one in 3,500 humans in the United States.

The domestic cat also serves as a model for human infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a genetic relative of human immunodeficiency virus.

The report appears in the November issue of the journal Genome Research. The Cat Genome Project is based at the National Cancer Institute / Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center in Frederick, Md. The sequencing data were generated by Agencourt Bioscience Corp. in Beverly, Mass.

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Reader Comments

debby    oxord, NC

11/1/2007 8:21:41 AM

so cute

Donna    Limington, ME

11/1/2007 6:46:28 AM

It would be great if they could find the link that will help cure many diseases!

Ruthann    Crossville, TN

11/1/2007 5:09:05 AM

Cats are more like humans than many people think. I hope the research will help overcome many of the diseases that cats and people are subjected to now.

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

11/1/2007 4:45:44 AM

Very interesting. Hope to hear more on what they find.

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