Inside Biotech

Alternative Careers in Biotech: Anna Skaya, Founder of Basepaws

Episode Summary

Drawn by the pitter patter of their little paws, the sweet purrs, and the source of unconditional companionship and friendship, cats or felis cactus have been interacting with and companions of humans for the last 8,000 years. Despite our long history with cats, however, little is known about their health and ideal lifestyle, especially when compared to dogs. One LA-based startup, however, is attempting to change this gap: Basepaws. Basepaws works to create a genomic database that enables the company to learn more about cat breeds, traits, and their health. This goal is built on the idea that understanding cats genetically will enable us to better serve cats and improve their lives. Interested in learning how exactly they do it? We virtually sat down with Basepaw’s founder, Anna Skaya, to find out more about Basepaws. Join Dr. Yewande Pearse, PhD on our 3rd episode of ‘Inside Biotech’ to find out more.

Episode Notes

Cats are humans’ other best friend! In Los Angeles alone, there are an estimated 771,076 households that have one or more cats as pets and unconditional sources of companionship and friendship. Despite the high number of cat owners in LA and all over the country, however, there is extremely little research about feline genetics when the numbers are compared to canine genetics and research. Meet Basepaws, a Los Angeles based startup, that is focusing to change this imbalance in research and bring feline research to the forefront. According to their website, “At the Conference on Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics (2019), for example, canine‑focused presentations outnumbered feline‑focused presentations roughly 5 to 1. In addition, when it comes to the number of sequenced genomes from each species, the goals (and available research funding) for the two fields look completely different."

 Thus, to bridge this gap, their goal is to build the world’s largest feline genomics database. Learning genomic information about cats is extremely important because it enables us to better learn about caring about cats. Through DNA and a genomic library, we can learn more about diseases, health issues, and traits to create the best products for cats possible. We virtually sat down with Anna Skaya, the founder of Basepaws, to ask her all about it. You can also learn more by checking  out their website: