Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stormy's Feline DNA Test

As a cat lover and bioinformatics scientist, I got excited when I heard that the UC-Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory was offering a DNA ancestry test for cats.  I decided to apply this test to my girlfriend's cat Stormy, who is a Scottish Fold of modest internet fame.



You can click here to see Stormy's test results.

Given that Stormy is a Scottish Fold, it isn't surprising that he descends from cats of Western Europe.  However, I think this is worth noting because it shows that the test result was accurate.

More importantly, I was hoping that this test would give me a chance to become more familar with feline genetics / genomics research.  So, I was glad to see that the test also listed 10 phenotypic markers.

A vet has previously identified Stormy as a "siamese point," so it was nice to see the precise mutation assoicated with this trait.  It was also interesting to see that he carried a long-hair marker, even though he is a short haired cat.

In order to better understand the research behind these markers, I contacted Dr. Leslie Lyons (who developed the ancestry test, described in Kurushima et al. 2012).  She was kind enough to point out that detailed information for these markers can be found on the VGL website, and I have provided all the relevant links below.
Of course, I will also be excited to see future developments in this area.  For example, I think it will be cool to view a larger portion of Stormy's genome and perhaps see the specific alternation that causes him to be a Scottish Fold.

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