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Personal genomics for pet cats

Lifestyle & Leisure

The Cat Ancestry test is a new genetic testing service that aims to help cat owners learn more about the ancestry of their feline companions.

Personal genomics has been popping up on our radar with increasing frequency in recent years, but the same can’t yet be said of related services for pets. Sure enough, though, we recently came across a new genetic testing service that aims to help cat owners learn more about the ancestry of their feline companions. Much like 23andMe and the other human-focused genome mapping services we featured several years back, a new effort from the University of California at Davis offers consumers a new way to trace the forbears of the cats they love. Specifically, the Cat Ancestry test – developed by Dr. Leslie Lyons and the Lyons’ Feline Genetics Laboratory in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Population Health and Reproduction – can determine which of eight major ancestral groups a given pet cat descends from. Then, once that ancestral origin has been determined, the genetics of the cat in question are compared with those of 29 breeds of cats to determine if the cat has similarities to any of a particular set of reference breeds. To order a Cat Ancestry test, consumers simply request one from the MyVGL website. When the bar-coded test package arrives, they collect a cheek swab sample from their cat with the supplied cytological brushes and return them by regular mail. Within 10 to 15 business days, an e-mailed Cat Ancestry report details the cat’s results. Pricing per test is USD 120 per cat. In the past few months we’ve seen pet-friendly TV channels, food trucks, social networks, travel agencies and hotels, to name just a few. Biotech entrepreneurs: time to start tapping the pet-loving masses yourself? Spotted by: Katherine Noyes

Website: www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/cat/ancestry/index.php

Contact: www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/contact/address.php

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