For me cat DNA and genetics is all about cat breeding. Do cat breeders, even those registered with cat associations, have a good knowledge of genetics? They should have because artificial selection as opposed to natural selection (think Charles Darwin) is nearly always inbreeding to fix the recessive gene that makes some purebred cats what they are such as Sphynx which I mention in the infographic.
I would doubt that cat breeders have a sufficient knowledge of cat DNA and genetics which is partly why cat breeding can be such a f*** up in breeding unhealthy cats with shortened lifespans. But I won’t gripe anymore.
Leslie Lyons is a Gilbreath-McLorn endowed professor of comparative medicine in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine who says that there are 3 billion base pairs of DNA that make up the genome of mammals. A base pair is a unit that consists of two nucleobases, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. These nucleobases are held together by hydrogen bonds, and they form the structure of the DNA double helix. The specific arrangement of these base pairs, known as the Watson-Crick base pairs, allows DNA to maintain its regular helical structure. This structure is determined by the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA molecule.
If you really want to delve into cat genetics I would strongly recommended visiting Sarah Hartwell’s website messybeast.com. She is the best cat geneticist in the UK, I suspect. Her website is full of cat genetic information with diagrams which she made herself.
The penultimate section in the infographic is about polygenes and polygenic traits. One example concerns the ever popular Maine Coon, which very sadly has a number of genetic diseases. These occur because of careless breeding or perhaps more accurately breeding which focuses too single-mindedly on one goal: the appearance. Hip dysplasia which affects the Maine Coon substantially causing lameness is controlled by a number of genetic factors according to VCA Hospitals in the USA.
And the disease is also affected by environmental factors. This very prevalent condition also affects the big dog breeds. Screening tests using radiographs are employed but this disease should not plague big dogs and cats. This is about irresponsible breeding at the end of day which retains the recessive gene and polygenes that cause the disease because per the breed standard breeders are not allowed to outcross to open up genetic diversity and inject some health back into the breed.
The reason is because as soon as you outcross to random-bred cats you lose the well fixed Maine Coon appearance which so treasured by the cat fancy. There is a lot more to say and some of it can be seen below is several more articles. There are many more so please search if you are interested.
Some more on genetics:
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