The Human Genome Project reaches out to felines'¦and conquers their DNA, too
Hurrah! The feline genome project is a success! Thanks to cats like Cinnamon, a four year-old Abyssinian, cats can count themselves on the short list of the mammalian genomes now fully sequenced.
Human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, dog, cow—and now cat—genomes have been sequenced by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). And I, for one, am impressed.
It’s not just that cats might actually benefit from this amazingly expensive research (they doubtless will), it’s that finally, a Federally funded project seems to recognize the importance of felines when it comes to advances in human medicine, too.
For small animal vets, this knowledge is no secret. After all, we’ve spent enough cumulative hours on miscellaneous feline cancers and viruses to secure a rudimentary understanding of how feline disease can mirror humans.’
Research into AIDS, retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease relatively common in both humans and cats) and a variety of cancers will directly benefit from this endeavor, while cats can count improvements into parentage testing, evolution studies and ecological adaptation research among the exciting ways this info might serve their species (as well as their wild cousins').
Maybe this doesn’t sound too interesting to you but for those of us on the front lines of kitty disease management, this is exciting stuff. It’s always great to see research take strides that can benefit so many with one fell swoop. Ladies and gentlemen, our tax dollars sometimes do find their way into the right hands. That knowledge alone should thrill you, too.
Now if only Cinnamon could find a home in the wake of her new-found fame...