Department of Population, Health, and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis
Domestic cat breeds, as with most domesticated animals, are defined by variation in phenotype. This can manifest as dramatic differences in body style, such as the Siamese and Persian, coat color, as found in Persians and Himalayans and hair length variations of the Persians and Exotic shorthairs. Many of these traits are the result of variation in single genes and the underlying genetic cause has been identified. In addition to phenotype defining characteristics, cats also possess many inherited genetic disorders. Many of these are also defined by mutations in single genes resulting in diseases such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD) to name a few. The genetic mutations resulting in Siamese points, Burmese points, brown or chocolate, cinnamon (Abyssinian red) and Agouti have been identified. Additionally, a genetic cause of autosomal dominant PKD in Persians and British shorthairs has been identified. All of these tests, as well as parentage determination, can be performed using DNA samples personally collected and submitted by cat breeders/owners. This project summarizes the current status of genetic tests available for the domestic cat.