Whole genome sequencing looks at the complete DNA sequence to identify anomalies that cause disease. This process allows veterinarians to provide more effective treatment for the diseases that they identify.
Scientists at the University of Missouri, using the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Consortium established at Mizzou by Leslie Lyons, the Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, have identified genetic variants that cause progressive retinal atrophy and Niemann-Pick type 1 which is a fatal disorder in domestic cats.
These studies will help domestic cats as well as their close relative the African black-footed cat which also suffers from these disorders.
DNA sequencing has helped in previous studies by identifying a genetic link between degenerative myelopathy in dogs and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in people.
It is exciting to read about the progress that is being made by scientists that will eventually help both people and animals live a longer, quality of life.