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Who's This Kitty Cat?

While there are genetic test to tell pet owners what breed their cat is, Digital Trends writes that that information may not be useful.

It notes that though the first cat genome — that of the Abyssinian Cinnamon — was published in 2007, cat genetic testing hasn't progressed as much as that for dogs. That, it says, is in part due to funding and higher number of dog than cat breeds. Still, Digital Trends reports there are a number of firms offering glimpses into the feline genome, some of which offer breed breakdowns and some of which provide potential disease risk information, both for breeders and pet owners themselves.

But none, Digital Trends' Jenny McGrath writes, have given insight into why her cat — a mix of western cats and perhaps Burmese, according to the tests — likes knocking things off of her bookcase and is fascinated by a robot vacuum. "There probably isn't a DNA test in the world that could tell me," she adds.

The Scan

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The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.