A biotechnology firm in San Diego, California, Allerca, Inc., is now taking orders for its Allerca Gene Divergence (GD) kitten, the world's first hypoallergenic cats .This is a boon to the several allergy sufferers who are also cat lovers.
Allerca sources claim that they searched for natural variations in the cat gene that induces allergy-inducing properties and then promoted the desired trait through breeding. Hence these animals were not transgenic,in other words their genes remain unaltered.
Leslie Lyons, assistant professor in the school of veterinary medicine at the University of California, specializes in research on domestic cat genetics but is not involved in Allerca's work. She supports the company's work and suggests that Allerca should concentrate on breeding Siberian cats, known for being hypoallergenic or any other such low-allergen breeds,that can be found through genetic screening. She also opined that hypoallergenic breeds could be developed in as few as "one to two crosses.'
Allerca's CEO, Megan Young, says that the firm has taken selective breeding to the next level. Human-exposure trials conducted by Allerca in collaboration with an independent lab revealed that known cat-allergy sufferers ranging from the mildly to the highly allergic, developed no reaction when they came in contact with the newly bred cats.
Allerca's scientific data,is closely guarded while independent parties have yet to publicly verify the cats' hypoallergenic status.
But Young indicated that that Allerca plans to publish its findings in a peer-reviewed journal by 2007.