At The Atlantic, Katherine J. Wu lets us in on a surprising genetic fact about mice and cats:
At some point in its evolutionary past, the mouse shuffled its ancestral genome like a deck of cards, futzing up the architecture that makes most other mammalian genomes look, well, mammalian. “I always consider it the greatest outlier,” Bill Murphy, a geneticist at Texas A&M University, told me. “It’s about as different from any other placental mammal genome as you can find, sort of like it’s the moon, compared to everything else being on the Earth.”Katherine J. Wu, “One More Thing We Have in Common With Cats” at The Atlantic (July 28, 2021)
Mice are useful for research (easily bred and fungible) butt hey don;t tell us much about oour own genome. And cats?
Cats, it turns out, harbor genomes that look and behave remarkably like ours. “Other than primates, the cat-human comparison is one of the closest you can get,” with respect to genome organization, Leslie Lyons, an expert in cat genetics at the University of Missouri, told me.Katherine J. Wu, “One More Thing We Have in Common With Cats” at The Atlantic (July 28, 2021)
Also, as so many cats live with people, they share many lifestyle disease issues with us.
But who would have thought that cats and humans would have such close genomes?
Some researchers now study them to learn more about human diseases. Fine, just so long as they don’t treat them the way they treat mice — or the way cats treat mice.
See also: In what ways are cats intelligent? Cats have nearly twice as many neurons as dogs and a bigger and more complex cerebral cortex.