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