It’s a dog’s world

By Lim Ching Ying

Even in science, there seems to be a bias towards man’s best friend — far more scientific research has been conducted on dogs than cats.

GRAPHIC: LIM CHING YING

The dog genome was sequenced before the cat. Surface evidence also comes in the form of PubMed, a database of biomedical journals, shows 139,858 results for cats and 328,781 for dogs.

This, in spite of the value vets believe cats could bring to the research table.

Dr Kate Megquier, a veterinarian working on a Ph.D. at the Broad Institute in cancer genomics, told the New York Times: “They get a lot of cancers called lymphomas, and they certainly have something to teach us about them.”

Dr Leslie Lyons, a geneticist at the University of Missouri recently responsible for sequencing a new cat genome, also adds that it is harder to obtain funding for studies involving cats.

It is not just favouritism towards canines though.

Researchers acknowledge that dogs share many other similarities with humans, as well as the
simple fact that they have been domesticated for a far longer time than felines.

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