Unraveling the Secrets of Diabetes Mellitus in Burmese Cats
Tufts' Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference, 2015
Georgina Samaha1; Claire M. Wade1; Leslie Lyons2; Julia Beatty3; Bianca Haase1
1Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 2College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA; 3Faculty of Veterinary Science, Valentine Charlton Cat Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Cats are among the most common household pets. They live closely together with their humans and share the same environments and lifestyles, which exposes them to many of the same risk factors for diabetes. The incidences of obesity and diabetes in cats are increasing and have become a serious veterinary problem. Feline diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance, defective insulin secretion, and beta-cell loss. Risk factors include excessive body weight, gender, age, and breed. While any cat can develop diabetes, a significantly higher prevalence has been estimated among purebred Burmese cats from Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Although the underlying mechanisms predisposing Burmese cats to diabetes are as yet unknown, there is clear evidence for a genetic aetiology. We have applied a whole-genome association mapping for diabetes in 10 diabetic and 57 non-diabetic Burmese cats. DNA samples were genotyped with the Infinium iSelect 63K Cat DNA genotyping array. Our analysis identified two regions that are significantly associated with diabetes in Burmese cats and we are currently investigating two positional candidate genes known to be involved in the absorption and metabolism of lipids. Feline heredity diseases such as feline diabetes mellitus serve as important animal models and could have a great impact on the understanding of diabetes mellitus in other species, with both veterinary and medical applications.


Speaker Information
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Georgina Samaha
Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW, Australia

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