In pet stores, we see dog products massively outnumbering cat products. Unfortunately, a similar trend can be seen when we compare the canine and feline genetics research fields. At the Conference on Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics (2019), for example, canine‑focused presentations outnumbered feline‑focused presentations roughly 5 to 1.
In addition, when it comes to the number
of sequenced genomes from each species,
the goals (and available research funding)
for the two fields look completely different.
The 99 Lives project has approximately 200 domestic cat genomes sequenced,
compared to the Dog10K project, which
aims to sequence the genomes of 10,000
dogs and wild canids, as well as all known
What we do and how we do it
At Basepaws, we are trying to correct this imbalance between the two fields. We are building the world's largest feline genomics database, currently containing tens of thousands of feline genomes sequenced at either high or low depth. For this, we have all our customers and research project participants to thank.
We are only just starting to see the power of our data and how it can impact and advance the feline genetics space. You can read about the science behind our DNA tests, our research projects and scientific partners below.
Diseases of the oral cavity are the most common ailments in cats. We are developing a metagenomics-based oral microbiome test that will help identify microbial patterns associated with diseases, such as periodontitis. Find out more about this project here.
Feline Reference Genome Improvement
The latest version of the domestic cat’s reference genome (Felis_catus_9.0) is a significant improvement over previous genome versions. However, our analysis has identified a significant amount of misassembly errors that we are currently fixing, in order to provide a better resource for the feline genetics community. You can learn more about this initiative here.
We have known about the ability of some coronaviruses to infect pets for a while. It is now also known that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, can infect cats. You can read more in our blog about the cat Covid-19 test we are developing and the specific research questions we are hoping to answer soon.
We have partnered with the animal pharma company Anivive to study the genetics behind feline diabetes. Learn more about our research from this article.
Basepaws Citizen Science Program
We are recruiting cats with specific diseases or traits in order to help pioneer feline medicine and genetics. We also strongly encourage our current customers to fill out our cat phenotype survey. This will help us discover more associations between genetics, physical traits, disease predisposition, and behavior.
Conferences and Media Presence
Veterinary Innovation Summit, Fall 2019, Colorado State UniversityDr. Chris Menges speaking on translational medicine
Veterinary Innovation PodcastGenetic testing in veterinary clinics - the importance of having a long-term perspective
Short update blogs when we attend relevant conferences.