student profile: Ms Georgie Samaha


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Advances in Felid Genetics and Genomics

Supervisors: Claire WADE , Bianca WAUD

Thesis abstract:

A number of genomic and genetic resources have been developed for domestic cats. These resources have contributed to knowledge regarding the feline genome, improvement of feline health and understanding of felid evolutionary genomics. The advent of high-throughput genotyping technologies has made identifying these markers more feasible in recent times. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool and to date is considered the best sequencing tool available for detecting genomic variations. The aim of this study is to use NGS to develop genomic tools for two scenarios affecting felid health: conservation genomics and genetic disorder management of threatened zoo felids and whole genome NGS of feline diabetes mellitus in Burmese cats.�br /� �br /� Felidae are among the most threatened wild mammal groups. Sustaining viable populations of threatened wildlife species in captivity requires an internationally coordinated effort among conservation organisations and zoos. Collaborative efforts by these organisations to maintain genetically diverse captive populations is undermined by methodological differences, preventing data comparison. We aim to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in four species of threatened felids to develop a SNP database and genotyping assay. The assay will offer a flexible and highly competitive genotyping platform which can be used globally.�br /� �br /� Domestic cats serve as an interesting animal model for type 2 diabetes as the pathogeneses of these diseases are very similar. The aim of this study is to provide genetic diagnosis for feline diabetes mellitus. The identification of genes involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes is complex as damaging mutations often occur in more than one gene, potentially resulting in oligogenic inheritance. We further aim to develop a genetic test capable of establishing prevalence parameters and facilitating the appropriate selection of breeding pairs to reduce the prevalence of this disease among domestic cats. 

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