Annotated features of domestic cat – Felis catus genome

  • Gaik Tamazian1,

    Affiliated with

    • Serguei Simonov1,

      Affiliated with

      • Pavel Dobrynin1,

        Affiliated with

        • Alexey Makunin1,

          Affiliated with

          • Anton Logachev1,

            Affiliated with

            • Aleksey Komissarov1,

              Affiliated with

              • Andrey Shevchenko1,

                Affiliated with

                • Vladimir Brukhin1,

                  Affiliated with

                  • Nikolay Cherkasov1,

                    Affiliated with

                    • Anton Svitin1,

                      Affiliated with

                      • Klaus-Peter Koepfli1,

                        Affiliated with

                        • Joan Pontius1,

                          Affiliated with

                          • Carlos A Driscoll2,

                            Affiliated with

                            • Kevin Blackistone2,

                              Affiliated with

                              • Cristina Barr2,

                                Affiliated with

                                • David Goldman2,

                                  Affiliated with

                                  • Agostinho Antunes3,

                                    Affiliated with

                                    • Javier Quilez4,

                                      Affiliated with

                                      • Belen Lorente-Galdos5,

                                        Affiliated with

                                        • Can Alkan6,

                                          Affiliated with

                                          • Tomas Marques-Bonet5,

                                            Affiliated with

                                            • Marylin Menotti-Raymond7,

                                              Affiliated with

                                              • Victor A David7,

                                                Affiliated with

                                                • Kristina Narfström8 and

                                                  Affiliated with

                                                  • Stephen J O’Brien1, 9Email author

                                                    Affiliated with


                                                    DOI: 10.1186/2047-217X-3-13

                                                    Received: 1 December 2013

                                                    Accepted: 23 July 2014

                                                    Published: 5 August 2014



                                                    Domestic cats enjoy an extensive veterinary medical surveillance which has described nearly 250 genetic diseases analogous to human disorders. Feline infectious agents offer powerful natural models of deadly human diseases, which include feline immunodeficiency virus, feline sarcoma virus and feline leukemia virus. A rich veterinary literature of feline disease pathogenesis and the demonstration of a highly conserved ancestral mammal genome organization make the cat genome annotation a highly informative resource that facilitates multifaceted research endeavors.


                                                    Here we report a preliminary annotation of the whole genome sequence of Cinnamon, a domestic cat living in Columbia (MO, USA), bisulfite sequencing of Boris, a male cat from St. Petersburg (Russia), and light 30× sequencing of Sylvester, a European wildcat progenitor of cat domestication. The annotation includes 21,865 protein-coding genes identified by a comparative approach, 217 loci of endogenous retrovirus-like elements, repetitive elements which comprise about 55.7% of the whole genome, 99,494 new SNVs, 8,355 new indels, 743,326 evolutionary constrained elements, and 3,182 microRNA homologues. The methylation sites study shows that 10.5% of cat genome cytosines are methylated. An assisted assembly of a European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris, was performed; variants between F. silvestris and F. catus genomes were derived and compared to F. catus.


                                                    The presented genome annotation extends beyond earlier ones by closing gaps of sequence that were unavoidable with previous low-coverage shotgun genome sequencing. The assembly and its annotation offer an important resource for connecting the rich veterinary and natural history of cats to genome discovery.


                                                    Felis catus Domestic cat Felis silvestris silvestris European wildcat Genome sequence Annotation Assembly

                                                    Data description

                                                    The genome of a female Abyssinian cat (“Cinnamon” who resides at the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA) was sequenced at 1.8 × and 3.0 × whole genome shotgun (WGS) coverage at Agencourt Inc. Fca-6.2, an additional 12 × coverage of 454 reads and BAC ends was sequenced, assembled with CABOG [1] and analysed at Washington University, St. Louis (USA) [2]. Fca-6.2 is anchored to chromosome coordinates with two physical framework maps, a radiation hybrid map [3] and a short tandem repeat (STR) linkage map [4]. Further, 1943 distinct sites identified in a recently built linkage map using a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping array including ≈60,000 SNPs from an Illumina custom cat genotyping array are also mapped to the assembly.

                                                    Here we present a genome browser, Genome Annotation Resource Fields — GARfield [5], which displays the Fca-6.2 assembly and included annotated genome features. In Table 1 we list the features of GARfield annotated in the cat genome assembly which are described and illustrated in the Additional file 1 of this Data Note. The genome features detected in Fca-6.2 include a merged list of 21,865 genes derived from a comparative gene identification strategy using BLAST alignments between gene exons of reference genome from eight reference mammalian gene maps (human, chimpanzee, macaque, dog, cow, horse, rat, and mouse) obtained from the Ensembl Gene 75 database [6]. In addition, the whole genome methylation sites and a methylome bisulfite sequence pattern of cat whole blood cells is presented, previewing epigenetic profiling in important complex disease associations, including diseases with viral and neoplastic etiology.
                                                    Table 1

                                                    Annotated cat genome features available as genome browser tracks for GARfield and UCSC genome browsers


                                                    Additional file 1

                                                    I. Assembly of Felis catus genome Fca-6.2


                                                    II. Gene annotation

                                                    Tables S1–S7

                                                    III. Domestic cat DNA variants

                                                    Tables S8, S9; Figures S2, S3

                                                    IV. Repeats content

                                                    Tables S10–S16; Figures S4–S13

                                                    V. Nuclear mitochondrial (Numt) pseudo gene fragments

                                                    Figure S14

                                                    VI. Evolutionary constrainedelements (ECE)

                                                    Tables S17, S18

                                                    VII. Feline endogenous retrovirus-like elements

                                                    Table S19; Figure S18

                                                    VIII. Methylation sites

                                                    Table S20

                                                    IX. MicroRNA

                                                    Table S21

                                                    X. Variants between F. silvestris and F. catus.


                                                    Approximately 55.7% of the cat genome is composed of repetitive elements of familiar classes (LINEs, SINEs, satellite DNA, LTRs and others). We report more than 25 novel families of complex tandem repeat elements in the cat genome uncovered by multiple repeat detection algorithms. We searched for STR-microsatellite loci useful in population and forensic applications. Putative PCR primers for 53,710 STR loci are annotated. We also mapped known feline endogenous retroviral loci (full length RD114, FeLV, FERV) and detected 125 kb of partial retroviral genome sequences dispersed across the cat genome. Nuclear mitochondrial (Numt) DNA pseudogenes derived from ancient transposition from cytoplasmic mitochondrial chromosomes to nuclear chromosomal positions comprise 176 kb in addition to the Lopez-Numt, a 7.8 kb element tandem-repeated 38–76 times on Chromosome D2 previously described in the 1.8× analysis of Cinnamon’s genome [7].

                                                    The earlier 3,078,438 feline single nucleotide variants (SNVs) [7, 8] from largely non-repetitive regions of the cat genome are supplemented with a new group of 99,494 newly annotated SNPs plus 8,355 detected indels. In addition, we performed an assisted assembly with a 40× Illumina SOLID DNA sequence coverage of Sylvester, a European wildcat, F. silvestris silvestris, a wild representative of the species from which cats were domesticated approximately 10,000 years ago [9]. Genome variations (SNVs and indels) between F. silvestris and F. catus SNPs are reported here and both species’ genomes and their associated data have been uploaded to the GARfield genome browser (see Availability of supporting data section).

                                                    Our annotation resolved cat homologues of 743,362 evolutionarily constrained elements (ECEs) recently identified in the human genome by alignment to 29 different mammalian genomes [10] and these were compared to the conserved sequence blocks obtained by the reciprocal best match (RBM) screen for cat genes with seven mammalian genomes (human, chimp, macaque, dog, cow, rat and mouse). A conservative alignment approach implicated 54% of the human ECE sequence comprising ≈3% of the cat genome. A total of 3,182 feline microRNA (miRNA) homologues were detected and mapped based upon homology to miRNA sequences from 36 species with miRNA sequence described in the miRBase database [11]. Finally we screened the genome sequence for copy number variation and segmental duplications. All annotated features listed in Table 1 are described in detail in Additional file 1 and tracked in the GARfield genome browser.

                                                    Availability of supporting data

                                                    The assembly sequences are available at NCBI RefSeq database (accession numbers #PRJNA175699 and #PRJNA253950). The annotated features are available in the Genome Association Resource Fields (GARfield) genome browser http://​garfield.​dobzhanskycenter​.​org and the UCSC Genome Browser (http://​genome.​ucsc.​edu), which links to a Dobzhansky Center Hub (http://​public.​dobzhanskycenter​.​ru/​Hub/​hub.​txt) (See Section 2 of Additional file 1 for instructions). Supplementary tables and figures that refer to GARfield features are given in Additional file 1 and listed in Table 1.

                                                    Sequence and variation data is available in NCBI (SAMN02795853 for Boris the cat and SAMN02898152 for wildcat) and supporting data is also available in the GigaDB repository [12].



                                                    Evolutionary constrained element


                                                    Single nucleotide polymorphism


                                                    Single nucleotide variant


                                                    Short tandem repeat.



                                                    The authors are grateful to Elena Savelyeva (Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory of St. Petersburg Academy of Veterinary Medicine) for preparing samples of Boris the cat. This work was supported, in part, by Russian Ministry of Science Mega-grant no.11.G34.31.0068; Stephen J. O’Brien, Principal Investigator and ERC Starting Grant (260372) and MICINN (Spain) BFU2011-28549 grants to Tomas Marques-Bonet.

                                                    Authors’ Affiliations

                                                    Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University
                                                    Laboratory of Neurogenetics, NIAAA
                                                    CIIMAR — Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto
                                                    Department of Animal and Food Science, Veterinary Molecular Genetics Service, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
                                                    IBE, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra-CSIC, PRBB (The Barcelona Biomedical Research Park)
                                                    Department of Computer Engineering, Bilkent University
                                                    Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
                                                    Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri
                                                    Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University


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