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Phenotype: Hair length is variable across cat breeds and even between individuals within breeds. Four mutations that produce long-haired coats in domestic cats have been identified in a single gene. Three of the mutations are fairly breed specific, while the fourth is present in all long-haired cat breeds and crossbreds.
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal recessive
N = Normal
M1 = Long Hair Mutation 1 (Ragdolls)
M2 = Long Hair Mutation 2 (Norwegian Forest Cats)
M3 = Long Hair Mutation 3 (Maine Coons and Ragdolls)
M4 = Long Hair Mutation 4 (all breeds of long hair cats)
Breeds appropriate for testing: Many breeds
Explanation of Results:
- Cats with N/N genotype have short hair and cannot transmit any of these long hair variants to their offspring. They cannot produce long-haired kittens.
- Cats with N/M1, N/M2, N/M3, or N/M4 genotype have short hair and are carriers of a long hair trait. They will transmit their long hair variant to 50% of their offspring. They can produce short- and long-haired kittens depending on the genotype of the mate.
- Cats with M1/M1, M2/M2, M3/M3, or M4/M4 genotype have long hair. They will transmit their long hair variant to all of their offspring. If bred to a long-haired mate, they will produce only long-haired kittens.
- Cats with M1/M2, M1/M3, M1/M4, M2/M3, M2/M4, M3/M4 have long hair and have two different long hair variants. They will transmit a long hair variant to all of their offspring. If bred to a long-haired mate, they will produce only long-haired kittens.
Cat hair coat colors, patterns, and texture are determined by the combined action of several genes. One gene – fibroblast growth factor5 (FGF5) – determines hair length. Short hair is a dominant trait determined by the wild-type form of FGF5. Long hair is a recessive trait. Four mutations in FGF5 have been identified that are associated with long hair in cats. Long-haired cats can carry two copies of the same mutation (homozygote recessive) or have two different mutations, one on each chromosome (compound heterozygote). Three of the mutations are fairly breed specific, while the fourth is present in all long-haired cat breeds and crossbreds, as follows:
Mutation 1 (M1): present in Ragdolls
Mutation 2 (M2): present in Norwegian Forest Cats
Mutation 3 (M3): present in Maine Coons and Ragdolls
Mutation 4 (M4): present in all breeds of long hair cats, including Ragdolls, Maine Coons, and Norwegian Forest Cats.
This test for long hair that detects the 4 common mutations in cats (listed above). It is possible that other mutations causing long hair may exist which have not yet been identified.
Type of Test
|Test Result||Long Hair|
|N/N||Cat has short hair. None of the 4 long hair mutations detected. Cat cannot produce long-haired kittens.|
|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.|
|Cat has long hair and will produce only long-haired kittens when bred to a long-haired mate.|
|Cat has long hair and carries two different long hair mutations (compound heterozygote). Cat will produce only long-haired kittens when bred to other long-haired cats.|
Drogemuller, C., Rufenacht, S., Wichert, B., & Leeb, T. (2007). Mutations within the FGF5 gene are associated with hair length in cats. Animal Genetics, 38(3), 218-221. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2007.01590.x
Kehler, J. S., David, V. A., Schaffer, A. A., Bajema, K., Eizirik, E., Ryugo, D. K., Hannah, S. S., O'Brien, S. J., & Menotti-Raymond, M. (2007). Four independent mutations in the feline fibroblast growth factor 5 gene determine the long-haired phenotype in domestic cats. Journal of Heredity, 98(6), 555-566. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esm072