From Sphynx to wildcats - 4 things you didn’t know about your cat’s DNA.
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Looks. Smarts. Health. You inherited a lot from your parents (and their DNA). Science is just starting to untangle the role that DNA has in making you, YOU. And now Basepaws is working on this same special treatment for your favorite pet!
There’s a pretty good chance you’re not very familiar with your cat’s DNA, so here’s a little introduction:
Cats share 90% of their genes with humans
You may have sensed it all along, but science now proves that you and your cat have A LOT in common. To be exact, 90.2% in common! You and your furry friend share most of the same genes required to eat, sleep and chase laser pointers. Next time you’re with your cat, try to look past that furry face, whiskers and tail. You’re practically cousins.
Your cat is descended from the African wildcat
Although there is evidence that cats were domesticated more than once, all living house cats are descended from Felis silvestris lybica, the African wildcat. The current theory is that these wildcats were first adopted around 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, when early farmers began to appreciate the ability of wildcats to torture and destroy pesky rodents. Your cat may be more interested in a can of tuna than a mouse intruder, but most of the genes are still in place to unleash Fwuffy’s killer instincts if necessary.
Most cat breeds are less than 100 years old
We’re not claiming that cats all looked the same a few hundred years ago (they didn’t), but people have only been breeding cats to look like today’s breeds for less than 200 years. For instance, the Sphynx breed first appeared in the 1960’s, and they owe their breed’s distinctive lack of hair to mutations in a single keratin gene. If you go back further in time, fun-loving cat ancestors bred more freely across 8 different geographic regions in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Hundreds of cat diseases are inherited
Just like humans, cats can inherit genes from their parents that make them more likely to suffer from diseases. Veterinarians have identified more than 250 diseases that can be inherited in your cat’s DNA. Many of these are similar to diseases that humans also suffer from. Some diseases, like polycycstic kidney disease, are linked to a mutation in a single gene. Other diseases, like lower urinary tract diseases, are more complex and influenced by a number of different genes. Basepaws is actively searching for the genes that contribute to these diseases and more.
If you’d like to learn more about your cat’s DNA, consider purchasing a Basepaws CatKit to sequence your cat’s DNA for just $99. The sooner your cat participates, the sooner we’ll be able to decode what makes your cat lovably unique. We’re still learning what the cat genome can tell us, and as an early adopter we’ll keep you updated as our research progresses and your cat’s genes are deciphered. Join the Basepaws community and help us build the next generation of cat care.