Aby-a-Day – April 16: Go me, it’s my birthday (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby spent a lot of his birthday on Saturday parked in the big cat bed.

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The cat bed, of course, happened to be in a really great sunbeam.

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And Jake’s pretty sure that that sunbeam was just for him.

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I’m the birthday boy, and this is all for me!

CSI: Kylie and Jacoby

I have been intrigued by genetics and inheritance since I was about four years old; my dad bought me a little book on zoology when I was seven and I wore out the part that illustrated basic Mendelian theory with black and white guinea pigs. Of course, cat genetics were my primary focus; in 7th grade, while everyone was trying to grasp how a green smooth pea and a yellow wrinkled pea would produce all green smooth peas, I was making a four-trait Punnett square showing to to breed a black Scottish Fold to a blue-point Siamese to get folded-eared, pointed cats (and I even took into consideration that the fold gene couldn’t be homozygous). Why didn’t I go to college for this stuff? Well…who knew this would actually turn out to be a “thing” back then?

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get Kylie’s DNA tested because I just wanted to know if she really is part Maine Coon as I’ve always suspected. I also want to know if, underneath her big white spot, she’s actually a blue tabby (which the little patches on the top of her head when she was a kitten implied). But every time I looked, there “wasn’t a DNA test that could tell what breeds a cat was descended from, the way you can test a mixed-breed dog for its ancestral breeds,” because, basically, most cat breeds haven’t been distinct for as many generations as have dog breeds.

But I figured there HAD to be a way to figure out certain breed traits, since so many cat breeds are based on genetic mutations (Abys are, actually, one of the few breeds that aren’t really based on a mutation, interestingly enough). And, today, while answering a question about the Siamese (thermorestrictive partial albinism), I found (via this super-cute and also informative link) that UC Davis actually does several genetic tests for cats that, while not breed-detecting, can at least tell you some probable genetic contributors.

(Pause for a bit of irony: I grew up in Davis, California I did not go to UC Davis because, being a typical 17-year-old, I wanted to “get the hell out of town” as fast as I could…so I went to CSU Sacramento. Whoo hoo, moving on up to the big city!)

I ordered two tests for Kylie: the Longhair Mutation test, which will tell me which longhair mutation, if any, Kylie carries (N/M1, N/M2, N/M3 or N/M4: Cat has short hair and carries one copy of a long hair mutation. Cat can produce short and long-haired kittens depending on genotype of the mate), and the Coat Colour Panel, which will tell me, among other things, if she carries the Agouti (tabby) gene or the Dilute gene. So, finally, I’ll know if she is part Maine Coon and if she’s a blue tabby with a big white spot.

I also ordered a test for Jake, the PK Deficiency/Progressive Retinal Atrophy carrier combo test, because those are the two major genetic-related problems Abyssinians are known for, and it’d be nice to know if I might need to worry about them cropping up someday.

These are actually part their “birthday presents” this year, since they’re both born in April…talk about perfect timing!

And, when the results came back, I was so giddy!

Jake’s were all good news:

PK DEFICIENCY results for Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home(CAT44879):
N/N – no copies of PK deficiency, cat is normal

PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA) results for Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home(CAT44879):
PRA-CEP290 Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have rdAc mutation
PRA-CRX Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have Rdy mutation

But Kylie’s results…WOW.

Agouti Result:
A/a – Offspring can be agouti or non-agouti depending on the genetics of the mating. (So, she is a tabby underneath the white!)

Amber Result:
E/E – No copies of the mutation for Amber. (Not a surprise)

Brown Result:
B/B – Full color, cat does not carry brown or cinnamon (Again, not a surprise)

Dilute Result:
D/d – One copy of dilute allele. Cat is a carrier of dilute. (She is NOT a blue. She carries it, but she’s not a blue tabby under the white. Which is interesting, because she had grey spots on her head. Hm. That result is kind of puzzling…)

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I mean…she’s not a blue tabby? Don’t her little “racing stripes” look blue?

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I mean…I guess they could be brown (genetically black) tabby marks, but they really look more blue than black to me. Still, DNA doesn’t lie, so it must be black.

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Gloves Result:
N/N – Normal, cat does not have gloving. (So her white spotting is not the glove/mitted type).

Colorpoint Restriction Result:
C/c(s) – Carrier of Siamese colorpoint restriction (She carries the Siamese gene! That I wasn’t expecting! If she had kittens, they could have been pointed! This is definitely the shocker of Kylie’s colour results.)

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She could have had kittens that looked like Patrick!

And her Longhair results…Well, I was right!

Genotype Result: N/M4

Cat has short hair and carries one copy of a long hair mutation. Cat can produce short and long-haired kittens depending on genotype of the mate.

M4 isn’t the genotype that’s specific to Maine Coons (that’s M3), but it does occur in Maine Coons. M4 is the longhair mutation that’s present in all longhaired cats. But still, I was right, one of her parents (or possibly a grandparent) was a longhair, and she may still actually be part Maine Coon (since she’s a native New Englander, it’s a pretty good bet that she is).

I just think it’s so very awesome that we can even get this kind of information on our random-bred, Craigslist kitty!