Siamese Cat Genetic Diversity Project

Virginia Wheeldon

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis is running a project to study the World Wide Genetic Diversity of Siamese. Control Groups, each with the results of between 10 and 20 cats, will be set up for each country. These will then be used to calculate the average genetic diversity for the Siamese of that country. The CFA Siamese Breed Council has been invited to participate and although the whole world does not share our registration requirements it will be interesting to see how genetically diverse our CFA Siamese are and how we compare to Siamese in other registries.

All cats participating will be screened with DNA markers for diversity, relevant cat genetic diseases for which VGL have tests available (such as PRA) as well as coat colours. Individuals selected should ideally be unrelated (no parent or offspring included from any contributor) and belonging to a current breeding programme whenever possible. Individual animals will be ranked according to diversity (high to low) and potential disease carriers identified.

Results are then issued to the owner of each cat and these can then be used by breeders to evaluate their individual future breeding programmes.

The most recent Genetic Diversity Study (on all cat breeds) was done by Dr. Leslie Lyons from 2002 to 2007 and the results from that study reflected that Siamese were in the middle of the pack compared to other breeds (Siberians were the most diverse, along with Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats and Japanese Bobtails. Burmese and Singapuras were the least diverse). Although that study did not show cause for alarm, I think that our Siamese lines have come closer together in recent years (witness how hard it is to find a good outcross lately). I think the results of this study would be beneficial both in evaluating our breeding programs and to track the genetic diversity of our breed going forward.

The cost per cat to submit a sample is $90.00 per cat. An account must be set up with UC Davis using the following link:

Owners will be able to order and pay for the test online AND print the bar-coded kit. It is important to:

1. Use Johnson&Johnson brand of cotton swab (Q-tips)
2. Submit 3 swabs per cat and swab both ends of each Q-tip (the bar coded printout sheet only has outline of two swabs but Dr. Penedo is specifically requesting 3 samples per cat. Just make sure to space the samples and keep them within the outlined square on the sheet).

It is also important to access the UC Davis Lab through the above link even after you have set up your account. If you go into the site through the regular link you will not be able to access specifically the genetic diversity form.

If you have any questions, please email me at I hope you will consider participating in this study.


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This page last modified Nov 06, 2016 at 09:35AM

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