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The goal of animal breeding

Narrator: This is Science Today. Breeding animals for controlled selection has been going on since animals first became domesticated.

Lyons: So whether it was a horse for better strength, an ability to work the fields or cattle better for meat and milk production, or a cat, which has mainly been for aesthetic reasons.

Narrator: Leslie Lyons is an authority on cat genetics at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Lyons was part of a large, genetic study of cats that traced their family tree to the Fertile Crescent and she hopes this genetic information will help cat breeders develop efficient breed-management plans and avoid introducing genetically-linked health problems to their breeds.

Lyons: Always the goal is to make sure the animal is healthy, but then also how can we make it more suited for our environment and our interactions? It would be great if we could have cats that had less allergy production or also, just have the proper behavior that suits us and hence, are less likely going to be found in the pound because you didn't know what you were getting into.

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