After seven years of research efforts, American scientists managed to decode the entire genome of the domestic cat.

There had been other attempts to decode the genome of the domestic cat in the past, but this study is the first to have successful results.

In 2007, researchers at the University of Missouri began decoding the genome of Cinnamon, an Abyssinian cat from Columbia, Missouri, but with the technical means they had at their disposal back then, it was possible to decipher 60% of the genome. This time, with the evolution of technology in this area, the scientists finally managed to complete the decoding.

The researchers also studied the genome of Boris, a cat from St. Petersburg, Russia, and Sylvester, a European wildcat.

The decoding of the genome of the cat was important for the scientific community for two reasons. Firstly because it was found that since the moment when cats first evolved on the planet, they have had very small genetic changes, and it is an interesting subject to study.

This could contribute to the understanding of mammal evolution and give an answer to the question: why cats didn’t change at all as a result of domestication while dog domestication changed canines a lot?

The second and more important reason has to do with the fact that cats are prone to a number of the same diseases as humans, such as leukemia and AIDS. The mapping and study of the genome may reveal new information, which could be used for more effective treatment of these diseases.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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