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D. A Heart Disease that Affects Cats ... and Humans

Narrator: This is Science Today. A gene mutation responsible for a heart disease in cats and is also a leading cause of death in young athletes, has been identified by researchers at the University of California , Davis . Veterinary cardiologist, Mark Kittleson, says the inherited disease is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and it causes excessive thickening of the heart muscle of the left ventricle.

Kittleson: It's the most common heart disease in cats and is also a very common heart disease in humans. It's estimated that one in every five hundred humans has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. One of the common scenarios is a young athlete that will go out for football practice and drop dead on the football field.

Narrator: The particular gene mutation the group has identified in cats has not been identified in humans yet, but their research may provide a valuable model for investigation.

Kittleson: Maybe down the road, there will be some hope for genetic engineering for individuals that are already affected.

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