Researchers have largely decoded the DNA of an Abyssinian cat, a step that may aid the search for treatments for both feline and human diseases.
The work is published in this month's Genome Research journal.
The DNA of about two dozen mammals has been unraveled, including dogs, chimps, rats, mice, cows and, of course, people. Cats were added to the list because they get more than 200 diseases that resemble human illnesses -- for example SARS, diabetes, retinal disease and spina bifida, said one of the researchers, Stephen J. O'Brien of the National Cancer Institute. Knowing cats' genetic makeup is expected to facilitate vaccine and treatment research.