A recent study at University of Missouri-Columbia used genetic analysis to determine the origin of the first cats to be domesticated by humans. Genetic markers were assessed from nearly 200 cats from regions, varrying from the Fertile Frescent region to areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The results strongly support the theory that cats were originally domesticated exclusively from the Fertile Crescent region. The results of this study will be used for further genetic experiments in veterinary medicine, for research into treatments of genetic diseases.
I found it interesting to read how this could be used to benefit veterinary medicine. Leslie A. Lyons, who performed this study, referred to this as "building genetic tools" to improve medicine for cat health. That idea of genetic tools is intriguing, but also a little existentially scary. It is fascinating to speculate what this could be be used for. The article mentioned that they are working on developing treatments for polycystic kidney disease.