Scientists Breed Allergy-Free Kitty

Published June 2006

June 2006

A spokesman for the San Diego-based company, Allerca, announced they bred the world's first hypoallergenic kitten, opening the doors for millions of allergy sufferers who can now consider having a cat join their family.

With a projected price-tag of $4000 and up for one of these special kittens, an allergy-free feline won't come cheap.

The biotechnology firm believes sensitive owners will happily pay a premium for the chance to own a cat - without the wheezing and sneezing they usually experience around felines.

In the development stage, the company hoped to identify and silence the genes of kittens with proteins that humans react to.

In practice, once the gene was identified, the company focused on naturally occurring genetic divergences (GD) already present in cats that do no harm to the cats in any way. They selectively bred litters over several generations to end up with an allergy-friendly cat.

"For the first time, people who have been unable to own a cat because of their allergies can now enjoy a pet of their own without the associated risks and costs of allergy treatments," Allerca CEO Megan Young.

The company anticipates customers to take delivery of hypoallergenic kittens in early 2007.

Plans to insert the breed mutation into other cats breeds starting with British Shorthairs are the first step in a mass breeding program. Young said they expect to be breeding 10,000 of the cats yearly by 2009.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, approximately 30 million Americans suffer from some form of cat allergy.

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