A rough draft of the cat genome was released in 2007 and a much more comprehensive version was completed in 2014. No-one has sequenced the Manx breed yet and this project is the first to look at the whole genomes of Manx cats and find the mutations that are unique to them.
Sequencing multiple Manx cat genomes has a scientific purpose. If we can identify other mutations which are unique to the Manx breed this could possibly lead to diagnostic DNA tests that can be used by breeders to select their cats more appropriately to try and reduce the number of kittens born with Manx Syndrome. The more cats we can sequence the more we can discover!
We want to investigate the genomes to answer these questions:
- In addition to the tailless gene, which mutations are unique to the Manx cat?
- Which other genes are involved in Manx Syndrome?
- As the tailless gene only determines the presence of an altered tail length, what is the genetic basis for some Manx cats having a rumpy tail, some having a stumpy tail and some a long (but not quite full length) tail?
- In the individual cats we sequence, can we find any genetic basis for any health problems they have?
The results of our experiments will be peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal. We’re sure that along the way we’ll also find more questions in the genome data and we’ll be submitting a copy of the genomes to NCBI so that scientists all around the world can benefit from the Isle of Man’s first genome project.