student profile: Ms Georgie Samaha


Thesis work

Thesis title: Advances in Felid Genetics and Genomics

Supervisors: Bianca WAUD , Claire WADE

Thesis abstract:

Advances in molecular genetics and genomics has introduced a new paradigm for studying life. Genomics offers solutions to expanded our knowledge of cat biology and improve feline health and our understanding of felid evolutionary genomics. Currently, next generation sequencing (NGS) is considered the best sequencing tool available for detecting genomic variations that can offer us a means by which we can understand the biology of complex organisms. Using NGS and genomics, we can create tools for the conservation of threatened species and management of inherited genetic diseases within domestic and wild felid populations.

In this project, we’ve applyed genome-based strategies to two scenarios affecting feline health. The first of which is revealing the genetic mechanisms underlying feline diabetes mellitus in domestic cats. Domestic cats (Felis catus) serve as a novel model for type 2 diabetes as cats suffer a form of diabetes that has an almost identical pathogenesis to type 2 diabetes in humans. Our work will provide a genetic diagnosis for feline diabetes mellitus and 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. The second scenario is directed toward the conservation and genetic disorder management of threatened zoo felids. Felidae are among the most threatened wild mammal groups. We intend to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms 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.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.