Cats have long had the reputation of being mysterious and aloof but, at least in one way, cats have finally revealed some of their secrets. Thanks to a small donation of genetic material (blood) from cats Cinnamon, Boris and Sylvester, GigaScience Journal reports that a team of scientists have fully sequenced the domestic cat genome for the first time. A partial genome sequence of an Abyssinian cat was mapped in 2007, but this is the first time the feline DNA has been fully sequenced and annotated. The report states that the completed genome annotation “…extends beyond earlier ones by closing gaps of sequence that were unavoidable with previous low-coverage shotgun genome sequencing.”
This DNA sequencing will help us learn more about cats but it could also provide us with valuable insight into diseases that affect humans, too. The researchers note that felines have “…nearly 250 genetic diseases analogous to human disorders.” Dogs’ DNA has been sequenced since 2005. However, the feline genome is a great resource for study because, unlike dogs, cats have not changed much since they were originally domesticated.