The Null Device
The cat genome
The cat genome has been sequenced
. Well, most of it. The feline Craig Venter
whose actual DNA was sequenced is a pedigree Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon, descended from lab cats bred to develop a degenerative eye disease, whose genetic cause has since been discovered.
Analysis of the cat genome sequence could also shed light on everything from evolution to the origins of feline domestication, they say.
"One thing I'd like to discover is the genes for good behaviour in the cats - the genes for domestication, the things that make them not want to kill our children but play with them," he added.
If they do find the makes-a-good-pet gene, they could possibly use it to create transgenic pets which don't do the amount of ecological damage to non-native environments that cats do. (There would be a solid case for eliminating cats from, say, Australia, though because of their popularity, such a move would be impossible to implement in anything resembling a democracy.) An alternative would be to find the genes responsible for predatory instincts and knock them out, creating a cat that's, well, a pussycat. Oh, and if they find out how to encode bitmaps into the cat's coat patterns, designer kittens could be as much a possibility as laser-engraved iPods.
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