Companion animals have many heritable diseases found in humans;many do not have a mouse model counterpart. To bridge the gap between human and mouse biology, genome projects have been initiated for companion animals, particularly for the cat and the dog;however, the initiative for the cat is still insufficient. A biologically focused genome initiative for the cat would span the gap between mouse and man more efficiently. A focused gene mapping approach would remedy the smaller scale of the cat genome project and allow the genomes of companion animals to unlock their biological secrets for human health and scientific advancement, providing invaluable tools and resources to researchers throughout the world. Our long-range goal is to use knowledge of genetic diseases in companion animals, particularly the cat, to gain insight into the pathogenesis of comparable diseases in man. The objective of this application is to improve the genetic resources for the domestic cat by three different research areas. This focus will provide resources and facilitate the research in humans and companion animal investigators who have interest in particular biological processes, simple or complex traits and inherited or acquired diseases. We will accomplish this task through three specific aims: 1) Develop a well-defined genetic map of the cat using^a focused approach of mapping 500 microsatellites and -15,000 SNPs that are associated with disease causing genes, that fill areas of poor marker coverage and that define evolutionary breakpoints on the chromosomes. 2) Aggressively identify new models and augment current feline models of human disease through the animal hospital services at the DC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital. 3) Develop a cat phenotypic and health information registry that will collect cat health data and provide DMA resources for the same cats. The project is relevant as it will generate genetic resources and models focusing on diseases that are difficult to study in humans, therefore, human health will rapidly benefit from the biology of companion animals. Researchers studying these diseases in animals and humans will have a leap in resources, including markers, DNA and patients. The proposed research is significant because it will provide sufficient resources for single gene studies, and begin the collection of markers, DNA, and animals for complex disease studies, such as asthma, cardiac disease, diabetes, infectious disease susceptibility and obesity.
The cat lifestyle has evolved to be sedentary and indoor, mimicking humans and associated health issues such as diabetes, obesity, and asthma. The proposed resource development will augment research for feline models of human disease, support clinical and laboratory based research and teaching within the veterinary community, and support the development of grant applications to funding agencies and the NIH.
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