Abyssinian Cat Genetics

Abyssinian cats
Abyssinian cats – photograph ©copyright Helmi Flick – please respect it!
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This page is concerned with Abyssinian cats genetics. There can be 28 varieties of Abyssinian.

The Abyssinian’s attractive and even ticked coat is due to a mutation of the common tabby pattern. It could be described as a restricted type of tabby coat. The pattern occurs on the head, tail and legs. Selective breeding has restricted the pattern even more.

Genetically the ticked coat is produced by homozygosity at the ticked gene and the agouti gene. These are represented by the symbols TaTa and AA respectively.

Abyssinian cat genetics – Definition of homozygous:

“An organism is referred to as being homozygous (basically meaning of the same alleles) at a specific locus when it carries two identical copies of the gene affecting a given trait on the two corresponding homologous chromosomes (e.g., the genotype is PP or pp when P and p refer to different possible alleles of the same gene). Such a cell or such an organism is called a homozygote.” (this is a verbatim copy allowed under the Wikipedia® license – see license and details

The genotype for the Abyssinian cat coat can be signified as follows:

AAB-D-TaTaWhere AA = homozygous agouti gene
B = dominant heterozygous black
D = dominant heterozygous dense pigmentation
TaTa = homozygous ticked gene

The most common color for the Abyssinian is ruddy with very little evidence of the tabby pattern. Through careful breeding the color has become a warm mahogany color. To the above genotype can for example be added the dilute gene dd in homozygous form to produce the Blue Abyssinian. The full genotype for the Blue Abyssinian is AAB-dd-TaTa therefore. The ticking is bluish over a cream/oatmeal ground color.

Somali cat
Somali cat — longhaired Aby – photo ©copyright Helmi Flick

The Somali is a longhaired Abyssinian cat and has the genotype:


where ll represents the longhaired gene, a recessive gene, in homozygous form.

Silver Abyssinians were created by introducing the inhibitor gene indicated by the capital letter I into Abyssinian cat genetics. This is a dominant gene. The genotypes contain the I gene as an addition.

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From Abyssinian cat genetics to Abyssinian cats

Source: Robinson’s Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians by Carolyn M. Vella, Lorraine M. Shelton, John J. McGonagle and Terry W. Stanglein.

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