When will more cat breeds be added to the Basepaws report?
At Basepaws, we know how important it is to you to get to know your cat—inside and out! We get asked a lot about the cat breed profiles provided in our digital report, so we’d like to explain more about our process and why it can take time before we’re able to add more than the current 21 breeds included in our cat DNA tests.
Basepaws analyzes your cat’s genome and compares it to the genomes of the many thousands of cats that are in our pedigree reference panel to find similarities. We work with modern pedigree breeders to acquire our pedigree DNA samples and, to date, our reference panel includes the fully sequenced DNA of cats from 21 top pedigree breeds.
These breeds fall into four main breed groups: Western (from Europe and the Americas), Eastern (from Asia), Persian (Persian and related cats), and Exotic (hybrids and Egyptian Mau). These breed groups contain genomes of representative breeds that share a high degree of genomic similarity and are more genetically distinct from other breed groups, i.e, they form their own clusters.
However, pedigree cat breeds have been classified primarily by aesthetic traits, such as the folded ears of the Scottish Fold—a cat that is not presently included in the Basepaws report. But why?
Let’s say your cat looks just like a Scottish Fold, but their Basepaws report results state that the top breed to which their genome is most similar is actually the British Shorthair. How is this possible?
It turns out that the single gene variant responsible for the folded ears trait only accounts for a tiny fraction of your cat’s overall genetic makeup.
While your cat indeed carries the fold gene mutation responsible for their folded ears, our DNA analysis reveals information about your cat’s entire genome—and as a result their genome is overwhelmingly more similar to that of a modern-day British Shorthair.
We still have a lot to learn in order to paint a more clear and comprehensive picture of the many other distinct genetic markers that separate different pedigree cat breeds, such as the Scottish Fold, from one another—and from unknown cat breeds.
Throughout history, cats have reproduced freely without the help of humans. As a result, the feline genetic code has remained exceptionally diverse. Some breeds may never be added to our reference panel, because their members remain too genetically diverse and may never share enough genomic similarity to form a distinct cluster that allows us to reliably recognize them.
Basepaws is committed to scientific research that provides you with the very best insights for supporting the health, wellbeing, and longevity of your cat. When we do add more breeds to our reports, it will be based on scientific integrity that you can count on.
To dive into more details on this topic and your cat’s Basepaws report, read our blog about Genomic Similarity versus Ancestry. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with more questions!