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Now For Whiskers, Too

Cats are now getting in on the ancestry and health DNA testing, and Wired reviews a new service called Basepaws that provides not only feline ancestry information but also health data.

Ancestry and health testing services have been expanding for dogs, though there have been questions about variability in testing quality. Still, fewer such services are available for cats, which Wired's Christopher Null says is in part due to less research interest in cats. Though, there are some such tests.

Null sent in samples of his cat Saffy — whom he calls "eccentric" — to Basepaws to try the $99 service. He reports at Wired that there was a bit of wait to get results back, about two months to get the health results and another month to get genetic results. These indicated that Saffy wasn't at risk of the 17 diseases examined and that she is about 46 percent polycat — a mix of all cat breeds — and about a third Western cat breeds like Western shorthair, but also about 9 percent Eastern cat breeds like Burmese.

"The Basepaws report can be a bit confusing, and it doesn't feel complete in large part because it can't be complete," Null adds. "There's just not enough information about cat breeds available to make for a full picture."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.