The agouti signaling protein interacts with the melanocortin 1 receptor to switch between black and red pigments, creating a banding pattern in individual hairs. Mutations in the agouti signaling protein gene (ASIP) prevent this switch from occurring, resulting in hairs of uniform color.
Cats with colored 'points' have genetic mutations associated with temperature-sensitive pigment production. Pigment production is reduced in warmer areas of the body, leading to darker pigmentation in the cat's cooler extremities (paws, ears, etc.)
Birman cats have clearly defined white feet ("gloves") as part of their breed standard. This characteristic gloving is caused by a variant in the KIT gene and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.
Cat DNA tests are carried out using cells collected from your cat's cheeks and gums using household cotton swabs.
The cat DNA submission form with instructions, pricing, and a place to tape the cotton swabs can be printed from your home computer after signing up for a MyVGL account and placing an order. Test kits are not mailed.
Purchase regular household cotton swabs for cat DNA collection (the cotton swabs can be purchased at a pharmacy or drug store)
Use both ends of the two cotton swabs for a total of four swabs.
Collect the DNA sample by swabbing the cheek and gums of the cat.
After swabbing the cheek and gums, tape the cotton swabs to the bar-coded submission form printed from your MyVGL account.