Mars Petcare and Broad Institute develop open-access database of dog and cat genomes
Goal of the initiative is to accelerate individualized preventive pet care
Mars Petcare has teamed up with Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a world leader in the genetic and molecular analysis of diseases, to produce one of the largest open access cat and dog genome databases in the world. According to a company release,1 genomes from 10,000 dogs and 10,000 cats enrolled in the Mars Petcare Biobank program will be sequenced throughout the next decade and the findings will help propel individualized pet health care for future dogs and cat generations.
"Our latest initiative with the Broad Institute is hugely exciting when it comes to advancing preventive pet care. This project could help us further understand how we can build individualized pet care solutions for each unique dog or cat, which has the potential to become part of routine healthcare practice,” stated Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, chief medical officer, at Mars Veterinary Health, in the release.1
“As veterinarians, we're always looking to improve patient outcomes and for new ways to solve some of the most pressing pet healthcare challenges such as obesity, skin conditions, dental disease, infectious and zoonotic diseases, orthopedic disorders and, of course, cancer. I look forward to seeing how the open access data can enable new insights supporting individualized pet health,” she added.
The full genome sequence and variant data of the 20,000 pets will be made publicly available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Sequence Read Archive. This will allow a wide array of scientific investigation, such as in-depth dog- and cat-breed ancestry, new genetic mutations specific to certain dog and cat breeds and how they link to diseases, plus pets' aging process. In turn, this information can help veterinary teams offer custom solutions to individual pets and enhance health outcomes.
Mars Petcare plans to unveil the first raw genome sequences as soon as they become available throughout 2023, with more processed data to follow as further pets are enrolled in the biobank study. Mars Petcare scientists will be analyzing data and publishing initial results for the scientific community during this year and beyond. Sequencing and analysis will be lead by Elinor Karlsson, PhD, director of the Vertebrate Genomics Group at Broad Institute and professor of bioinformatics and integrative biology at UMass Chan Medical School.
"We're excited to partner with Mars Petcare to establish an open access resource of full-genome sequences for thousands of pet cats and dogs living in homes across the United States. Making this data fully accessible to the global scientific community will provide new insight into the ancient origins of dogs and cats—who have lived by our sides for thousands of years—and support research projects focused on improving healthcare for pets living today,” shared Karlsson.
Visit https://marspetcarebiobank.com/ for more information.
Mars Petcare and the Broad Institute create open-access database of dog and cat genomes to advance preventive pet care. Mars Petcare. Anivive Life Sciences. January 9, 2023. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/anivive-announces-former-latham--watkins-llp-office-managing-partner-jim-beaubien-to-their-board-of-directors-301716510.html