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W98-LYONS: Development of genetic databases and standard health evaluations for pedigreed domestic cat breeds

The development of pedigreed cat breeds splits the naturally occurring gene pool to create distinctive populations of cats (breeds). Several aspects of breed development, such as a limited number of founding cats and inbreeding, reduce the gene pool. Closed pedigrees eliminate the migration of new genes into the breed by not permitting outcrosses. Reduction of the gene pool decreases genetic diversity levels which leads to an increase in rare, recessive diseases, reduces the variation required to improve the breed and increases the occurrence of some genetic health problems. The database will include the genetic typing of 25-30 feline-specific markers for 25 males and 25 females. The Havana Brown breed will be the focus of this prototype study. It is anticipated that this data, and eventually data from other breeds, will assist breeders and registries in making objective decisions such as when to open or close breeds to outcrossing, when to accept a breed for championship status, and how to determine at what level a reduced gene pool may adversely affect the health of a breed. In addition, this information could support efforts to identify breed specific genetic markers for inherited diseases.

Grant ID: W98-LYONS

Status: Active

Year Funded: 1998

Amount awarded: $5,000

Investigator: Leslie A. Lyons, PhD; Stephen J. O'Brien, PhD; National Cancer Institute