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Domestic cat genome sequenced
Date:10/31/2007

isease that can lead to blindness. In humans, retinitis pigmentosa affects 1 in 3,500 Americans. The domestic cat also serves as an excellent model for human infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a genetic relative of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.

Using the cat genome sequence data, the researchers identified several hundred thousand genomic variants (known as SNPs, DIPs, and STRs), which can be used to determine the genetic basis for common hereditary diseases. The scientists have already used these variants to identify the causative gene for Cinnamons retinitis pigmentosa (they published a paper describing this study in the May/June, 2007 issue of the Journal of Heredity). These variants will also 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 great roaring cats.

The researchers also analyzed the feline genome for interesting features such as microRNAs, Numts (pronounced new mightsnuclear genomic fragments that migrated to cat chromosomes from mitochondria), and a vast sea of selfish DNA-like repetitive elements. The repetitive elements included scores of genomic stretches from historic retroviruses, some with known links to cancer.

The Cat Genome Project is based at the National Cancer Institute (Frederick, Md.). Cinnamon lives in a cat colony maintained at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The sequencing data were generated by Agencourt Bioscience Corporation (Beverly, Mass.).


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Contact: Maria Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4127
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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