Thursday, November 1, 2007

Partial Cat Genome Sequenced, May Aid Human Medicine

The first "rough draft" genome for the domestic cat has been sequenced by an international team of scientists.

The new sequence is based on the DNA of a four-year-old Abyssinian named Cinnamon, a purebred cat whose lineage can be traced for several generations.

The female animal yielded about 65 percent of the cat genome, which is now thought to contain 20,285 genes. By contrast, the human genome is believed to hold between 20,000 and 25,000 genes.

"[Cinnamon] 'volunteered' to have her genome sequenced so that we could understand [more about] the details of what makes a cat a cat," said study co-author Stephen O'Brien of the National Cancer Institute's Laboratory of Genomic Diversity in Frederick, Maryland.

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