What researchers are learning as they sequence, map, and decode species’ genomes

Domestic cats can develop diseases like leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus . To better understand these diseases, an international team of researchers sequenced and annotated the genomes of three domestic cats. The results, published this month (August 5) in GigaScience, include a new feline genome browser, Genome Annotation Resource Fields (GARfield), which encompasses methylation patterns in cat blood cells and more than 21,000 annotated genomic features. A team led by investigators at Nova Southeastern University in Florida sequenced and analyzed the genomes of three cats using three different methods. While the feline genome was previously published, Nova Southeastern researcher Stephen O’Brien and his colleagues noted that their work helps to close gaps in the low-coverage shotgun sequencing methods previously used in earlier work. O’Brien’s team also uncovered several new features in the cat genome, including new retrovirus-like elements and single nucleotide variants. Approximately 55.7 percent of the genome is comprised of repetitive elements. The analysis suggests a “highly conserved ancestral mammal genome organization,” and offers data to “connect the rich veterinary and natural history of cats to genome discovery,” the authors wrote in their paper.  The Scientist  Original web page at The Scientist