Thursday 8 March 2012

Analysing the Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is one of the ancient cat breeds it is thought. The history is interesting and it spans the four thousand years or so from the time when Egyptians first domesticated the wildcat to the present day in the feral Egyptian Maus wandering the streets of Egypt. How pure are the feral Egyptian Maus and are they similar to the ancient Maus?

An interesting concept is that the feral Egyptian Mau in Egypt today are more purebred that the finest purebred Egyptian Maus in the United States and Europe.

Moataz Ahmed Abd Elghaffar is a young Egyptian scientist who has a keen interest in answering some fundamental questions about the Egyptian Mau. In a proposed study his objectives are to:
  • Prove that native Maus in modern Egypt are similar to the ancient Maus;
  • Prove that Maus in Egypt are purer than overseas Maus and to
  • Establish the differences and similarities between native Maus and overseas Maus.
The good thing is that he lives and works in Egypt. He has first hand experience of relating to the modern Egyptian Mau living in Egypt.

He intends to analyze:
  • The overseas Mau in Texas, USA 
  • Native Mau in Cairo, Egypt and the 
  • Mummified Cats of Ancient Egypt.
Moataz's proedure will be to take two check swabs of living Maus and a hair sample of a mummified Egyptian cat. The first sample one will be taken from a native Mau, the second will be taken from American Maus and the third sample will be taken from a mummified Egyptian Mau. Then DNA will be extracted from the swabs followed by a test on the DNA.

In outline the procedure for testing the hair of a mummified Eyptian Mau is as follows:
  • Cut 10- 15 hair roots about 0.5 cm into a 1.5ml eppendorf tube.
  • Use 50 ul of the following lysis buffer: 10mM Tris pH 8.3, 50mM KCL, 0.5% Tween
  • Also add 10ul of 20ug/ml solution of Proteinase K in 10mM Tris-HCL (pH 7.5)
  • Vortex for 30 seconds. 
  • Ultracentrifuge at 13000 rpmfor 1 second.
  • Incubate overnight in a 56 - 60oC waterbath.
  • Incubate for 10 minutes at 94oC ( to denature the proteinase K  I presume)
  • Cool down to room temperature.
  • Ultracentrifuge at 13000 rpm for 1 second.
  • Ready DNA for your PCR
Cheek swabs will be taken of the feral and USA Maus.

I look forward to hearing about the results. It is said that there is no trace of the original Persian cat in the modern Persian cat. It is likely that there is no trace of the original British cats in the modern British Shorthair and American Shorthair. Selective breeding has seen to that.  I wonder how original any of the modern cat breeds are.

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