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Identifying Genes of Susceptibility for Feline Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases that affects middle-aged and older cats, and it is very similar to type 2 diabetes in humans. Some breeds of cat, like the Burmese, seem to have an increased risk of developing diabetes, which suggests an underlying genetic predisposition. As in the human population, the number of cats suffering from diabetes has progressively increased in recent years. Several risk factors have been identified that might predispose cats to developing diabetes, including being overweight and lack of exercise. Recent studies in humans have revealed that in addition to these external risk factors, there is an underlying genetic basis for disease susceptibility. Researchers will use a higher-powered test to identify more genes that contribute to genetic susceptibility to feline diabetes. The investigators will use SNP chips – a type of DNA chip that contains single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), genetic footprints found in DNA, to identify the location of disease causing mutations. Better understanding of the genetic factors that contribute to disease susceptibility could help prevent and treat diabetes, not only in cats, but potentially also in humans with type 2 diabetes.

 

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Dr. Yaiza Forcada, University of London, United Kingdom