Feeds

Scientists breed allergy-free moggies

$3,950? We'll get a goldfish

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A San Diego-based biotech firm has started selling hypoallergenic cats. Allerca's kittens have been selectively bred to reduce the amount of a protein called FEL D1, which causes adverse reactions in allergy sufferers.

As New Scientist reported back in 2004, the firm publicly announced plans to genetically engineer cat DNA to eliminate production of FEL D1. It seems the plans hit technical problems though, and the "product" Allerca is offering is just a cat that has been selectively bred in the traditional fashion, albeit backed up by gene testing and for a novel purpose.

The first kittens will be shipped 2007, costing a total of $3,950 for US residents. Allerca hopes they'll be the first in a series of what it calls "lifestyle pets".

Allerca says it has conducted scientific trails proving their cats don't cause the sneezing, eye-watering, skin and breathing problems experienced by allergic pet owners. A statement said: "Individuals with known feline allergies were fully exposed to the Allerca cats without demonstrating any allergic reactions."

Allergy experts have expressed doubts over whether the animals can be completely hypoallergenic, as FEL D1 isn't the only protein responsible for difficulties. Cat albumin can also get a reaction.

Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, told New Scientist: "This approach is scientifically valid, but that doesn't mean it's going to work." ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.