Feline model chosen for MU's genome project
Jun 01, 2005
The cat's blood will be used to map the feline genetic structure, allowing for each gene's function to be studied. The process has begun and is expected to take a minimum of nine months for the first steps in the mapping to take place, says Kristina Narfstrom, DVM, PhD, endowed professor MU's veterinary school.
"Many will benefit with the mapping, animals and human medicine," Narfstrom says.
Scientists will be able to determine which gene causes diseases in cats, including blindness and cancer, authorities say.
The goal is to create treatments for such genetic abnormalities.
"It is very important to complete the genetic mapping is cats," Narfstrom says. "Felines are an excellent model in comparative research. After the mapping is complete, the cat can be used in research more effectively," Narfstrom adds.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) one of the hereditary diseases Narfstrom studies may be caused by a mutation in one of 50 different genes and affects cats and humans. There is currently no cure for the disease that eventually causes blindness. Narfstrom remains hopeful that treatment for the disease will come from the mapping.