Skip navigation
How Sequencing the Domestic Cat Genome May Benefit Humans

Narrator: This is Science Today. The technology used to sequence the entire human genome has trickled down to other species. Leslie Lyons, an authority on cat genetics at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says the sequencing of the domestic cat genome will help not only cats and their breeders, but could potentially benefit human health as well.

Lyons: Persians have polycystic kidney disease - this is a very prominent single gene trait in humans as well, and so we certainly want to find that gene. Now that we have, we can do a genetic test so breeders can help eliminate those cats that have the disease from the populations and hence, breed healthier cats. But also, then we can use the cat as a model for polycystic kidney disease.

Narrator: This cystic disease affects about 600 thousand Americans and is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure.

Lyons: What if we come across drugs either in human or veterinary medicine that help or slow the prevention of kidney cysts? That would be a remarkable advance for kidney disease patients.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.