Partial Cat Genome Sequenced, May Aid Human Medicine

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2

Though incomplete, these genetic pictures can show scientists which regions of DNA were conserved across mammalian species as they evolved from a common ancestor.

The partial genomes "can provide an evolutionary perspective on the human genome," Felsenfeld said.

Compared to other mammals, cats and humans have remained genetically similar to their ancient common ancestor and to each other, study co-author O'Brien said.

"Humans and cats are reflecting pretty much the organization that was [created] a long time ago and subsequently passed down," he said.

"That's not the case in dogs or even in gibbons, where chromosome exchanges [over millions of years of evolution] have reshuffled the deck like a card game at a casino.

"So the human and the cat share a remarkable similarity in terms of the order and pattern of the way genes are laid down in chromosomes."

But Richard Gibbs, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, said that that the new view of the cat genome isn't complete enough to draw very many conclusions.

"Parts of [many animal genomes] are actually quite highly duplicated," he said.

Genomes duplicate naturally, and when they do they increase the potential for mutations to arise.

"These parts [of the genome] are rapidly changing and tend to be very interesting in evolution—[but] you don't get those unless you do a thorough sequencing job."

Free Email News Updates
Sign up for our Inside National Geographic newsletter. Every two weeks we'll send you our top stories and pictures (see sample).

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2




NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.