Recent advances in cat genetics

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The domestic cat has indirectly benefited from the human genome sequencing project, which has fostered new technologies and research designs that benefit all domesticated animals and breeds. Consequently, the genome project of the domestic cat has taken a significant leap forward, pouncing into the limelight. A variety of genetic tests for inherited cat diseases and phenotypic traits are now available, making genetic technologies and DNA testing common tools for cat breed husbandry and health management. Cat breeders and veterinarians can now use genetics to more efficiently breed cats, resulting in cats that also have lower risks of health concerns. As in humans, designer medicine, which is predictive, preventative, personalized and participatory, is a growing reality for the cat. The cat's own genome sequencing project is about to mature from its 'kittenhood', which will allow studies of complex diseases feasible in the near future. Common cat diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, urinary tract syndromes and susceptibilities to infectious diseases, including feline infectious peritonitis, have some heritable component, whether found in fancy cat breeds or in the random bred house cat. Genetic resources developed from the cat genome project will assist the genetic evaluation of these traits, traits that are commonplace in the private practice clinicians' patient load. This review presents the current state of cat genetic testing, the current abilities of the feline geneticist, the expected resources, and outcomes of the cat genome sequencing project, and the role of veterinary specialists and private practice clinicians in feline genetics.


  • Comparative genomics
  • Domestic cat
  • Feline
  • Felis catus
  • Genetics
  • Inherited disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • veterinary(all)


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