Do Cat Breeders Employ Genetic DNA Testing?

by Oyvind Solstad

Historically cat breeders, any breeder, did not employ genetic DNA testing because it did not exist. However, with scientific advances cat breeders now have at their disposal DNA testing to support them in their task of providing healthy cats.

The biggest concern of cat breeders should be inbreeding. It can lead to:

  • decreased fertility;
  • a compromised immune response. Immune system problems and susceptibility to disease;
  • manifestation of recessive genes carrying genetic diseases.

DNA testing shows up differences in the DNA structure of individual cats within the same breed or if breeding wild cats within the same species.

The differences are called “DNA variants” or “polymorphisms”. They are employed as signature markers.

DNA markers can be analyzed to assess genetic diversity and appropriateness in a breeding program. Diverse marker profiles normally means genetic diversity which must be the aim in a breeding program consistent with breeding a cat that meets the breed standard.

DNA is obtained from the cat through cheek swabs that collect loose cells. In other words, it is an easy process.

The question then is, are cat breeders sufficiently scientifically minded to get involved with this? Most cat breeders are ladies treating cat breeding as a hobby, working out of their home. Ladies are generally less interested in science. They have other equally important skills. Are they getting involved and using DNA testing to inject some scientific precision into the process?

Also cat associations should be involved as it would surely assist them in managing the health of cat breeds. The public, people who buy purebred cats, are concerned about the health of their new cat companion. It is in the interests of the cat associations to manage cat breed health and stud books with DNA testing. Are they doing it?

I have no idea but I sense not. Can someone tell me?

Pet DNA Service do DNA testing. They are based in Arizona USA. Their website is not available at the time of writing this. This is the URL: . It may work in due course.

They have a Google Plus One page.

This is a map of their location:

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Associated: Genetic diseases in purebred cats.

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