Interesting that this biotech firm has already produced hypoallergenic cats through selective breeding, ie without resorting to GM, when less than 2 years ago exactly the same firm was talking about how it would be able to do this via GM by 2007! (Scientists now breeeding GM cat)
There's also been lots of talk about cloning much loved cats and dogs but as noted by Time magazine, it's not only becoming increasingly clear that all cloned animals are "in one way or another, defective," but that cloning can't in any case produce carbon copies:
"That may come as a rude shock to people who have paid thousands of dollars to clone a pet cat only to discover that their new kitten looks and behaves nothing like their beloved pet - with a different-color coat of fur, perhaps, or a completely different attitude toward its human hosts." (The Perils of Cloning)
US hypoallergenic cats go on sale
BBC, 24 September 2006
US biotech firm Allerca says it has managed to selectively breed them by reducing a certain type of protein that triggers allergic reactions.
The cats will not cause the red eyes, sneezing and even asthma that some cat allergy sufferers experience, except in the most acute cases.
Despite costing $3,950 (£2,104), there is already a waiting list to get one.
Allerca first started taking orders for hypoallergenic cats back in 2004.
No genetic modification
It tested huge numbers of cats trying to find the tiny fraction that do not carry the glycoprotein Fel d1 - contained in an animal's saliva, fur and skin - which often prompts an allergic reaction in humans.
Those cats were then selectively bred to produce the hypoallergenic kittens now on sale.
The company's Steve May told the BBC that it was a natural, if time consuming, method.
"This is a natural gene divergence within the cat DNA - one out of 50,000 cats will have this natural divergence," he said.
"So candidates - natural divergent cats - were found and then bred so there is really no modification of the gene."
The BBC's Pascale Harter says there could soon be a global market for the kittens - in the US alone 38 million households own a cat, and around the world an estimated 35% of humans suffer from allergies.
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