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Comparing Cat Breeds to Identify Genetic Reasons for Bone Disease

Scottish Fold and American Curl cat breeds are easily identified by their unusual ears, which are an inherited trait. Although Scottish Folds have forward-folding ears, American Curls have ears that curl toward the center of the back of the skull. In American Curls, only the ear cartilage is malformed, whereas Scottish Folds can suffer from bone malformations and crippling arthritis that greatly affects their long-term quality of life. Based on existing pedigree analyses, two independent gene mutations appear responsible for the folded ear. it is possible that both mutations have occurred in the same gene or in genes belonging to the same signaling pathway. researchers will genotype cats from both breeds and identify the genes and chromosomal regions responsible for the folded-ear traits. The outcome of this study is of particular importance in understanding cartilage physiology, and it could provide new information regarding the much broader problem of osteoarthritis in these cats.

Dr. Bianca Haase, University of Sydney, Australia