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MT07-012: A novel heritable progressive retinal atrophy in the Bengal cat breed

Different forms of inherited blindness are common in many species, including humans and cats. Several forms of blindness that destroy the photoreceptors in the retina of the eye have been discovered in cats. These conditions will randomly appear in a particular cat breed and then become inherited. Often, two copies of the abnormal vision gene need to be inherited to produce the blindness. The abnormal gene can become established in a breed unknowingly and reveal itself only with particular matings. Some forms of blindness attack the photoreceptors shortly after birth, while other forms take a longer time to destroy the vision layer of the eye. Several cats of the Bengal breed have been diagnosed with a form of blindness that is destroying their vision at around 5 months of age. However, the progression and clinical characteristics of the disease still need to be defined. This project proposes to characterize the disease clinically so that veterinarians and breeders will be more aware of the problem. In addition, breeders will help identify blind cats and their relatives to help determine better breeding practices to prevent the disease and to build a database for future genetic studies.

Grant ID: MT07-012

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2007

Amount awarded: $7,260

Investigator: Leslie A. Lyons, PhD; University of California, Davis