Researching the genetics of disease in our furry friends compared to humans tends to have a canine bias, in part because of the variety that canine breeds bring to the table. But cats offer equally valuable features.
For example, the cat’s genome is organized quite a bit like a human’s, so, discovering how feline genes impact disease could help humans too.
But just like us, dogs get cancer more often than cats. If there’s a genetic reason, we might benefit from the research.
Cats have already had a positive impact on human disease. Studying cats with feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV, aided discovery of the human variety, HIV. In addition, remdesivir, a treatment for COVID-19 patients, was first used to treat cats with another type of coronavirus.
So, while dogs are said to be man’s best friends, cats may beg to differ.