Of the nonprimate mammalian species with developing comparative gene maps, the feline gene map (Felis catus, Order Carnivora, 2N = 38) displays the highest level of syntenic conservation with humans, with as few as 10 translocation exchanges discriminating the human and feline genome organization. To extend this model, a genetic linkage map of microsatellite loci in the feline genome has been constructed including 246 autosomal and 7 X-linked loci. Two hundred thirty-five dinucleotide (dC · dA)(n) · (dG · dT)(n) and 18 tetranucleotide repeat loci were identified and genotyped in a two-family, 108-member multigeneration interspecies backcross pedigree between the domestic cat (F. catus) and the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Two hundred twenty-nine loci were linked to at least one other marker with a lod score ≥3.0, identifying 34 linkage groups. Representative markers from each linkage group were assigned to specific cat chromosomes by somatic cell hybrid analysis, resulting in chromosomal assignments to 16 of the 19 feline chromosomes. Genome coverage spans approximately 2900 cM, and we estimate a genetic length for the sex-averaged map as 3300 cM. The map has an average intragroup intermarker spacing of 11 cM and provides a valuable resource for mapping phenotypic variation in the species and relating it to gene maps of other mammals, including human.
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