• Ruqayya Khan

You won't believe these cat pix - #1 is a total blast!!!

Cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti) is a nocturnal animal native to Central America, with its habitat spanning from Southern Mexico to Panama [1]. The name cacomistle comes from the Nahuatl language meaning “half-cat” [2], but don't be fooled by the name! Cacomistles aren’t related to cats. In fact, the black ringed tail of the cacomistle hints on its family resemblance to the common racoon, a species we’ve recently assembled at the DNA Zoo alongside the white-nosed coati and kinkajou in the same family.


Today, we share a chromosome length assembly for a cacomistle using a fibroblast cell line provided to us by the T.C. Hsu CryoZoo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. These were originally frozen all the way back in the summer of 1976! Fast-forward 45 years, and the cells feel great: pictured below is the confluent cell line after just 6 days of culturing. We thank Drs. Asha Multani, Sen Pathak, Richard Behringer, Liesl Nel-Themaat and Arisa Furuta in the Department of Genetics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for their help with the samples!


This is a $1K genome assembly with contig N50 = 45kb and scaffold N50 = 125Mb. See Dudchenko et al., 2018 for details on the procedure!

44 year old cacomistle fibroblasts from the T.C. Hsu CryoZoo at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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