A Manx scientist is leading a project to decode the Manx cat genome.
Rachel Glover, who comes from Douglas and was educated at St Ninian’s High School in the town, is volunteering her time to lead the project and analyse the genome data.
The DNA sequencing will be carried out in the USA at the University of Missouri’s feline genetics laboratory.
The project will produce the first genome sequence for the breed.
The project aims to search all 2.8 billion letters of cat DNA for mutations that make the Manx breed unique as well as mutations that contribute to Manx syndrome, a disorder sometimes seen in Manx cats that can cause incontinence and spina bifida.
Local company ServiceTech is providing the computational power required to analyse the genome and host the data and a local vet will also be involved to medically assess the cats chosen for sequencing and take blood samples.
In order to succeed they will need to raise enough money to sequence at least three cats at a cost of £10,000 per cat.
Donors to the Manx cat genome project will also have the opportunity to enter their cat in the selection process to be the first cat sequenced.
The scientists are particularly keen to hear from local companies in a position to sponsor the sequencing (or part-sequencing) of individual cats.
Rachel said: ‘This is a great opportunity for everyone on the Isle of Man to play a part in the island’s first genome project and a world first for the Manx cat.
‘The cat is so strongly associated with the island that I feel really passionately that the effort to sequence the first Manx cat genome should start here with the Manx people.
‘We hope to raise enough to sequence three cats but the sky is the limit as the more cats we can sequence the more discoveries we will make.’
To support the fundraising for the project, go to www.manxcatgenome.com and click on ‘donate’ or visit the crowd-funding page directly at here