Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cat Genome

This News story from Nature describes the first cat genome to be sequenced (though it's only a rough version sequence). Here is a sample:

A 4-year-old Abyssinian named Cinnamon has become the first cat to have its genome decoded. She joins a menagerie that now includes dogs, mice, rats and chimps. Dozens more animals wait in the genome queue — from armadillos to wallabies.

The sequence is a rough version that includes just 60% of Cinnamon’s total allotment of DNA 'letters' (As, Cs, Ts and Gs) with many holes in between.

But the 'light' treatment, which was done for $10 million, is good enough for some types of studies, the researchers say. The strategy should serve as a model for how to sequence the genomes of other animals that lack a large research community to push for a fuller and costlier genome, says Stephen O’Brien, a geneticist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, Maryland, who spearheaded the project.

“This is kind of a how-to map of what to do when you sequence an aardvark,” he says.

The sequence should speed up the discovery of genes linked to cat traits and diseases.