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Discover Your Cat's Genetic Makeup With Basepaws

May 24, 2018 · Updated May 24, 2018 · ·
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  1. Anne
    Have you ever looked at your cat wondering if there's some cat breed in her or his lineage? With most of our cats, we have no clue as to their genetic origins.

    But that's changing fast. You can now find out more about your cat's genetic heritage with a simple test that requires nothing more than a few of Kitty's hairs! We're going to talk today about how to do just that - and help promote scientific research into cat health too!

    But there's more:
    We're giving away TWO FREE Basepaws!genetic testing Catkits!!

    You can hop over to the giveaway here or keep on reading to learn more about this unique product.


    Edit: We have our two winners!
    Congratulations @M00nshad0w and @RiparianTraced ! :clap: I will be in touch soon to get your Basepaws kits out to you.

    If you didn't win, don't worry. Basepaws has generously created a special coupon for TheCatSite offering you a $20 discount on their kits!
    basepaws-coupon.jpg

    How can genetic testing help my cat?


    The science of genetics is moving forward in leaps and bounds. And now genetic testing is becoming available for cats too - more accessible and affordable than ever.

    Want to learn more? We did too, so we talked to Anna Skaya, CEO of Basepaws, a leader in the field of genetic testing for cats. Here's our interview with Anna -

    Anna Skaya - CEO of Basepaws
    Hi Anna, would you tell us a little bit about yourself, your connection with cats and the cats in your life.

    My name is Anna Skaya and I am the founder and CEO of the cat genetics company Basepaws. My connection with cats, and really all pets goes back to when I was a kid.
    My father is an entomologist and my mother is a biologist. Naturally, I grew up with animals, and cats have always been my favorite. They're independent, sassy and smart.

    Growing up in Europe, I've had cats living in and out of my home, sleeping in my bed, sharing my toys and eating my food since I can remember.

    How did Basepaws come to be? What made you think of the idea and how did you launch the company?

    Basepaws came to be two years ago. The idea was actually born because of the recent boom in personalized medicine and DNA testing. Everyone seemed to be doing DNA tests, but the companion animal space was lagging behind.

    I did my DNA test all the way back in 2011 and I was blown away by the information available to me. When we started with the idea for Basepaws, we couldn’t believe there wasn’t a cat product in the market yet. I remember thinking that there must be a lot more applications for these powerful tools beyond humans.

    In a way, DNA testing of pets is even more important than it is for us humans. We understand our own selves. We can speak, we can run tests. Our pets cannot. They can’t tell us who they are, what they’ve been through, and what hurts them. Sometimes I find myself closer to my pets than to my humans and I want to know them even better.

    How does Basepaws work? What steps are needed to analyze a cat’s DNA?

    Basepaws works very simply. The entire process can be broken down in 3 simple steps.

    1. Ordering the kit. The cat owners buy the Catkit from our website and we send it to them right away. The small kit we send is meant to help customers collect their cat’s DNA.

    2. Sampling the DNA. We use a very unique and non-invasive method of sampling the fur and extracting and isolating the DNA from the hair follicles.

      With our kits we send two pieces of adhesive. The tapes are used for sampling the fur directly from the cat. This does not hurt the cats. They have so much hair, the little bit that comes off with the tape won’t feel like anything to them. We did try out different types of sampling methods and the hair follicles work the best.

      Initially, we actually collected saliva samples. The kits contained swabs which the customers were instructed to use for sampling a little bit of saliva from the inside of the cat’s cheeks. Unfortunately, these samples didn’t turn out to be the best because they were highly contaminated with bacteria and difficult to separate feline DNA from the bacteria DNA. This is why we decided to opt for a unique method of extracting the DNA from the hair follicles instead. Saliva sampling is now only used for hairless cats.

    3. Sending the kit back to us. The customers then send these samples back to us and wait for results. We process the DNA and deliver the reports as soon as we can. The waiting period for now is from 2 to 6 months, but we are working hard to reduce it to a minimum - the long term goal will be to deliver the results in 6-8 weeks.
    This is what the process looks like -


    Can you tell us a little bit about the “behind the scenes” of the process? What do you do with the samples that cat owners send you?

    In the Basepaws lab
    We process all the DNA samples in our own lab based in Los Angeles. This is because we really want to understand how to continue to make our protocols and systems better with each sample we receive.

    When we get the hair sample in lab, we run it through numerous steps of processing. First, the DNA needs to be correctly extracted from the follicles. Afterwards we clean the sample, amplify it and sequence it. Sequencing machines read and record the order of nucleotide bases along the DNA sample. We then run the sequenced sample through our database and compare it to the thousands of cats’ DNA sequences archived in it. Based on this comparison, we can then report the sample to various things such as breed and wildcat indexes.

    What kind of information can you provide about a cat based on the genetic analysis?

    Genetic analysis allows an insight into so many different things. Right now, our report consists of breed and wildcat indexes. The report will be expanded shortly though and all the early clients will be updated for free. Within this and the following year we are planning to introduce Health, Traits and Wellness segments to the CatKit.

    The upcoming Health index will help discover cat's genetics influences to their risk for certain health conditions, or if their DNA is carrying a genetic disorder. We’re planning to cover seven health markers: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, factor XII deficiency, hemophilia B, hypothyroidism and polydactyly.

    Can you share with us stories of customers that found out something about their cat’s health that helped them take better care of him or her?

    We are just about to launch the health part of our reports. So far customers have mostly learned about the breeds only. Breed markers are a very important part of our report though and we’re the only company who does this. Even if a cat is not a purebred, if you find out it’s highly related to a certain breed it could help your veterinarian anticipate your cat’s future health needs.

    While at the topic of stories, one of our important goals is to build a wonderful, friendly and cat-loving community for all the members joining our growing Basepaws family. We strive to connect to all of our customer and their cats. We want to hear their stories, we want to engage with their cats and, ultimately, we want to connect them with each other.

    How wonderful would it be to connect two cat owners from two different sides of the world who have genetically very similar cats? Hearing what other people are doing can be very beneficial for expanding the valuable knowledge of caring for our cats. We hope to create an ambient in which the cat owners will be able to interact and learn in a new and exciting way.

    Many of our members are wondering about their cat’s breed. What can your test tell owners about the genetic heritage of their cats?

    We run the sequenced DNA through the database and calculate how closely RELATED the cats are to select cat breeds and wildcats. It is interesting, but also super important to learn the ancestry of the cats, as most cats are adopted and we don’t know very much about them.
    basepaws2.jpg
    However, learning the breed from the DNA is actually not that easy. Most cat breeds have been around for only less than 100 years. Out of the hundreds of millions of cats on Earth, most of them do not have any purebred ancestors because “purebred cats” are a human invention. This makes it very challenging to actually find the breeds in the DNA.

    We developed a genetic test that tells which cat breeds are most genetically similar to the tested cat. For all the thousands of locations along your cat’s DNA that can be similar or different in other cats, we record how many similarities your cat shares with different purebred cats. Then we use this value to determine how similar your cat’s DNA is to each breed in our database. We have actually written a very cool blog about this where we went into a much greater detail about the feline ancestry.

    Our customers are also enjoying wildcat index segment very much too. As we explain in our blog about the evolution of wild and domestic cats, your cat is more related to some species of wild cats than others.

    On an individual basis, your cat will have slightly more or less than 95.6% of their DNA in common with a specific wildcat. This individual metric is based on random inheritance from your cat’s ancestors. The same type of random inheritance is also true for humans and is the reason why one sibling might look much more like a great grandparent than the other sibling.

    Can your verify the breed of a cat that appears to be of a certain breed but has no papers?

    No. Not yet. Again, we need a bigger database and more knowledge in order to gain this kind of power. Cat breeders still know a lot better about purebred cats through papers and documents than us. This is why this still remains with them.




    Pretty neat, isn't it?

    And now let's talk about the giveaway!

    The Basepaws Giveaway!


    Basepaws is offering TheCatSite members the chance to win a Catkit! Here's what you need to do to enter the draw -

    Add a comment to this article to let us know what breed your cat resembles the most and if you'd like to test him/her to see if that breed shows up in their genetic analysis.

    The rules -
    • Add the word ENTRY anywhere in your comment.
    • You can add one comment per cat you'd like to test.
    • You can add one entry comments per day. A total of 14 comments - if you have 14 cats or more!
    • This giveaway is open to members of TheCatSite only.
    • You must be 18 or over to participate in this giveaway.
    • The kits can be shipped (and returned from) the US or Canada only. If you win, you'll have to provide us with a US/CA address.
    This giveaway will run for 14 days. Last date for entries is June 7, 2018.
    We'll run a draw to select TWO lucky winners who will receive the Basepaws Catkit!

    This is a sponsored post. Please support TCS sponsors by visiting their site and consider buying from them - thank you!

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Comments

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Margret
    ENTRY-
    Jasmine is the only cat I'm entering for.
  2. melontine
    Entry~
    Socks is a sweetheart, at times acting more dog than cat. Her thick coat of muted tortishell fur and the polydactyl snowshoes she’s got for toes always had us thinking she was made for the cold.
    I’d like to know for sure, but maybe she’s got some Maine coon in her after all.
  3. rjohnrichard17
    She was dropped off as a stray teeny kitten 6 weeks or so, and I adopted her from the rescue house
  4. Norachan
    ENTRY.

    I'd be very interested to find out what makes up Carpet and her 3 sisters. Carpet is a long haired bob-tailed cat. She comes from a litter of 3 long haired, 1 short haired, 2 long tail and 2 bob tail kittens.
  5. Docs Mom
    ENTRY Roxie, will be a yr. in end of Aug. 2018

    She is a torbie, but shares a few characteristics with Stormy...
    A broken, spotted & striped coat and the tiny squeak of a meow. I would be curious to see what her background is...Tks !
  6. Minxrat
    I think Poppy has Maine Coon in her, due to her fluff, her face shape and her ears. Sadly she has also lost her sight, which apparently is a Maine Coon trait. I'd love to know breeds she is made up of (she is my profile picture). So this is my ENTRY.
  7. Boris Diamond
    ENTRY

    Diamond has more fur than any cat I have had. It's long and thick, and he has a tremendous ruff! He weighs almost fourteen pounds. I've always called him a DLH, but I am curious what genetics led to all that fur.
  8. manda-midnight_612
    Entry:

    My cat Cracker is a black tabby SH. He came from a black and white cat (with mostly white with black patches) and as far as I know, his father is a mostly white with grey tabby patches, so I'm not really sure what breed he resembles as they are probably mixed breeds as well.
    I've seen so many people doing DNA tests for their dogs and always wondered if they had a DNA test for cats as I'm also really curious to know what types of breed he comes from. I created my account just to enter the giveaway lol
  9. Curlynn
    ENTRY: I'm curious about my cat Bowser that was found outside at just about 3 months old. She looks like she's a maine coon or has maine coon in her but she is pretty small. She has a giant fluffy tail and big green eyes. Shes the most loving, affectionate, energetic cat I've ever had. She's always been extremely vocal and very determined to get all the attention ever. I'd love to figure out what breed she actually is!
  10. Jezzi
    ENTRY- I suppose I'm most curious about our little one, Nashandra. She is beautiful and has such luxurious fur, but she is so small! Roughly the size of a half-grown cat but looking for all the world like a miniature Maine Coon; finding her genetic information would be lovely~
  11. Moz
    Entry - I guess Tango looks most like a calico Egyptian Mau to me. I'm actually not too knowledgeable about all the different cat breeds out there. She was actually born feral, so there's really no way for me to find out what she's closely related to without testing!
  12. sabrinah
    ENTRY- Cookie is a domestic shorthair tabby, but she's a pretty big girl at 12.5 pounds and is almost frighteningly strong, even as an old lady. I would be interested to see if she has any large breeds in there. Also, even though I've had her since the day she was born, she's never been a particularly lovable cat so I'm curious if she could have an aloof breed hiding somewhere.
  13. Brian007
    Entry.

    Well then, Dudley is a ragdoll of considerable size, and I wonder where those beautiful big brown bearpaws come from, a big brown bear, perhaps? He's terribly interbred, poor sizeable mite, but I was in an emergency situation when I found him and he rescued me. I wonder what all that interbreeding throws up in his gene pool? I'm from a small gene pool myself so I feel for him and his freakery.
  14. overseascatlady
    Entry
    My cat Kasut a tuxedo cat from streets of Malaysia. I have always been interested in seeing what breed she is.
  15. Korinmewmew
    This is entry is for my cat Korin, she resembles a Lynx point siamese, or a Birman.
  16. ChrissyC
    I would like to make an entry for my cat, Steve. He looks just like the one in the picture above!

    Chrissy
  17. maggie101
    ENTRY for Coco. She has the personality/traits and looks of a mixed Egyptian Mau. One of the Egyptian Mau's colors is bronze. She is brown and white with spots and stripes. She has a unique meow,quivers her tail when happy, and looks like she may be from the Persian family which is where the Egyptian Mau is from. Her eyes change from brown to green.
  18. Pucks104
    This is my entry for the Basepaws Catkit to test my cat, George, and his brother, Louie. They are DSH tuxedo kittens.
  19. thevoice
    ENTRY My cats' foster mother said they were probably Maine Coon (they were 8 weeks old at the time). If so, they're miniature Maine Coons at not quite 8 lbs for the female and 13 lbs for the male at 13 mos old. They do have big ear tufts and major paw tufts. Girlfriend is a medium haired mackerel torbie with a white chin. Her torbiness is more visible in the sum. Big boy is a mackerel orange with white and might wind up a long hair the way his coat has been filling out recently. They're litter mates and the vet thinks they're full siblings given that they have the exact same stripe patterns.
  20. DeweytheLion
  21. sivyaleah
    Entry. This will be for Cocoabean. While we know she's a domestic longhair, I do suspect she may have a couple of breeds not too far in her background. She has very long ear and toe tufts like a MC, and round shaped eyes similar the Persian type breeds. We've done genetic testing on ourselves, so why not the kitties? :D
  22. nansiludie
    ENTRY I would like to enter my cat Joey. He's a blue tuxedo cat. I always wondered what breed he might be of. He has a sister, named Daisy, exactly like him.
  23. Lari
    Hey why not? I don't expect to win, but here's an ENTRY. Lelia is a reformed feral, so likely has nothing special in her, but she is rather chatty, and long and lean, so I would assume she looks closest to an Oriental or Siamese.
  24. Saphena
    I am submitting this ENTRY for ItzelBelle. She was dropped off as a stray teeny kitten 6 weeks or so, and I adopted her from the rescue house. She resembles a Siamese and was listed as a Lilac Point on her adoption papers. She's cream with slate gray points and ice blue eyes. Still just a cute little thing and already doubled her weight! We would love to find a little more about her genetics as she was a stray and no history as to where she came from. Thank you!
  25. carebearbaby1
    Entry for Toby. I adopted Toby from a local shelter when he was 8 weeks old. His brothers were all short haired brown tabbies and his sister was a short haired calico; Toby is a long haired silver smoke. I'd be very interested to know where in his ancestry his unique coloring came from.
  26. NekkoUchi
    This entry is for Sami!

    We believe Sami is half DSH tabby, half ocicat. Ocicat is 50/50 Siamese/Abyssinian mix. It would be fun to verify if the information from the shelter is correct. She's a terrific cat, very tolerant of children and extremely social.
  27. Brian007
    Entry. Just how much of a ragdoll is Parker the puff, I presume he's fully gened up but maybe he's got some angora rabbit in him, one never knows. He's still quite small and ragdolls are supposed to grow big. The breeder did mention she had angoras too, and they're only very small. I do, of course, realise cross species breeding is somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible. But it's always wise to check. :lol:

    Thank you for adding him to your draw.
  28. kashmir64
    ENTRY

    Samai was found in a bowl with her sisters at 10 days old on the side of a highway. Neither of her sisters looks like her and she looks so much like a Siberian that I believe that her father must be. There is a Siberian breeder in the area which she was found.
    I truly believe the stud got out and bred her mother, but it's impossible to know for sure without a DNA test.
      Thestarcatcher purraised this.
    1. Thestarcatcher
      I would love to see her! she sounds beautiful!
  29. RiparianTraced
    Nickolas is a long-haired blue tuxedo pattern. He was adopted from a rescue but at 3 months old he's already almost the size of a small full-grown cat. We would love to know if he is partially Maine Coon. Thank you very much for considering this ENTRY in your giveaway.
  30. Thestarcatcher
    Amora has always been a lovely cat with interesting and unique features. Her coloration has stumped many people but we decided on dilute tortie, however since she is from a rescue/drop off situation we really have no idea where she is from or her lineage. We would love an ENTRY to test to see if there’s anything hidden in this special girl :)
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