W11-041: DNA Array Analyses for Cat Diseases

Feline researchers have been anxiously awaiting the developing genomic resources for the cat. The National Institutes of Health sponsored the primary resource, a better genome sequence for the cat, which was performed by Washington University at St. Louis. The variety of cats used in the sequencing project allowed the detection of the normal DNA variations of the domestic cat. The most common variants are known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). An important by-product of the DNA sequencing effort is the identification of this normal genetic variation. A resource called a DNA array or DNA chip can then be produced that contains assays for the highly polymorphic and evenly dispersed SNPs. Thus, these arrays can assess the entire genome of the cat in one experiment, which is known as a genome-wide association study (GWAS). Because the SNPs are at such a high density, the cats used for a GWAS can be from a population, not direct relatives. To date, genetic studies have required large extended families.

Now, cases (cats with the trait) and controls (cats without the trait) from the families and the population can be examined with the arrays. In addition, there is less concern for the mode of inheritance of the trait; GWAS can be performed with dominant, recessive, X-linked, and even traits that may have complex inheritance but a high heritability or relative risk in a population. Fewer cases are required for a recessive trait, more for a dominant trait, and more for relative risk studies – the more cases, the lower the relative risk. The Lyons laboratory has long been in preparation for the coming DNA arrays. This study supports a researcher to analyze the DNA array data. Previously and currently supported Winn projects will be prioritized, including Burmese craniofacial defect, Persian and Bengal PRA, and dominant traits, such as dominant white and ear fold.

Grant ID: W11-041

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2011

Amount awarded: $25,000

Investigator: Leslie A. Lyons, PhD, University of California, Davis