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Domestic cat genome sequenced
Date:10/31/2007

A report that appears in the scientific journal Genome Research (www.genome.org) details the first assembly, annotation, and comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome (Felis catus).

The DNA of a 4-year-old Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon, whose well-documented lineage can be traced back several generations to Sweden, has been sequenced. Cinnamon is one of several mammals that are currently being analyzed using light (two-fold) genome sequence coverage. To make sense of Cinnamons raw sequence data, a multi-center collaboration of scientists leveraged information from previously sequenced mammalian genomes as well as previous gene-mapping studies in the cat. In doing so, they found that Cinnamons sequences spanned about 65% of the euchromatic (gene-containing) regions of the feline genome.

The similarity between the cat genome and six recently completed mammalian genomes (human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, dog, and cow) allowed the scientists to identify 20,285 putative genes in the cat genome. The comparison also revealed hundreds of chromosomal rearrangements that have occurred among the different lineages of mammals since they diverged from a diminutive ancestor that roamed the earth among the dinosaurs some 100 million years ago.

The genome sequence analysis is certainly expected to lead to health benefits for domestic cats, 90 million of which are owned by Americans alone, according to The Humane Society. But the domestic cat also serves as an excellent model for human disease, which is one reason why the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) initially authorized the cat genome sequencing project three years ago.

Domestic cats possess over 250 naturally occurring hereditary disorders, many of which are similar to genetic pathologies in humans. For example, Cinnamons pedigree carries a genetic mutation that causes retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye d
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Contact: Maria Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4127
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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