What is the feline genome?

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The Feline Genome Project is an international research effort focused on the improvement of genomic and genetic resources for the domestic cat. The project includes research efforts from scientists from around the world and is inclusive of all efforts. The National Institutes of Health have provided the majority of the support for large-scale sequencing centers, such as the Broad Institute and The Genome Institute of Washington University at St. Louis to develop the DNA sequence of the cat genome. These large efforts are supported by researchers who have long-term interests in developing the cat as a model for human disease and improving health of the domestic cat. Public groups, such as pet food companies, have also contributed to the sequencing of the cat.
Chromosomes are examined and other ongoing research of the Feline Genome Project includes feline heart disease, parentage and dominant traits. Information discovered in this last group may lead to also help with human dwarfism, as well as heritable conditions in humans involving bone growth and development, or even osteoarthritis.
The reason you need to know about this is because it helps identify the mutations that cause genetic diseases and personality traits as well as understand the evolution and population dynamics of cats and wild felids (tigers, panthers and other cat ancestors). Research also is offering a greater understanding of the basic biology and physiology of cats.
In turn, this only helps you understand the needs and behaviors, because the knowledge we can glean from the science of feline DNA testing is just one more factor in awareness to make cats healthier, happier and safer. While there are certain traits that are universally associated with certain breeds—such as Siamese being talkative or Ragdolls being ultra-affectionate– this kind of testing drills deep into traits.
Each chromosome is made up of many genes, which are portions of DNA that code for specific traits. Genes on a cat’s chromosomes determine the cat’s color, fur length, fur pattern and other aspects of its appearance and physiology.
Due to mutations over time, a specific gene can have two or more variations, and these variations in genotype result in different traits or phenotypes. The different variations are known as alleles. In some cases, one allele is dominant over the other, meaning it alone controls the trait; in other cases, the two alleles in combination produce a different trait than either alone.

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