COLUMBIA, MO. University of Missouri researchers say efforts to unlock the genetic makeup of cats will lead to a better understanding of human diseases and help identify new treatment options.
Cats and humans share many common diseases such as allergies, asthma, obesity and diabetes, says Leslie Lyons, a professor of comparative medicine at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Since 2013, Lyons has led the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative, which has been building a database of cat genomes from veterinarians, researchers and cat owners who are curious about their cats diseases.
Lyons studies the polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts in the kidney. Its not discussed often, she said, but its common in cats, and its more common in humans than sickle cell, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined.
The similarity between cat and human genomes means a treatment that works for one could also work for the other. If research showed there was a diet that could be therapeutic for cats with polycystic kidney disease, Lyons said researchers would try the diet on humans.
Along with common diseases, researchers ...