Cat Out of the Bag: Kitty's DNA Decoded

Deciphering feline genome could help with HIV, blindness research
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2007 6:12 AM CDT
Blue Tabby Persian cat Cozmo Borderline Blues, from Manahawkin, N.J.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A 4-year-old Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon has become the first of her species to have its DNA sequenced, the BBC reports. Cats now join dogs, chimps, rats, mice, cows and people as mammals with decoded genomes. Cinnamon’s sequence could shed light on hundreds of human illnesses; cats can suffer from hereditary blindness and a feline version of HIV.

The project’s lead researcher wants to locate the “genes for good behavior in the cat … the things that make them not want to kill our children but play with them.” Twenty-six mammals in total were chosen by an American project for “shot-gun” genome sequencing: Cinnamon’s DNA is actually only 60% complete—with the rest of the bases to follow next year.