In the News: Searching for Genetic Clues in Siamese and Related Breeds

The Winn Feline Foundation has awarded a grant to help University of Missouri researchers determine the genetic cause of amyloidosis. Their work could lead to a test to identify affected cats, allowing “breeding away” from heritability in future generations.

Amyloidosis is found in Oriental shorthair, domestic shorthair, Siamese, Burmese and Abyssinian breeds. The disease develops when the abnormal protein amyloid, a fibrous substance, collects for unknown reasons in tissues and organs. The disease can become fatal if amyloid is deposited in the tissue of critical organs, such as the kidneys, liver or heart. The disease also affects humans.

At the request of several concerned cat breeders, the foundation established a special donation fund for research on amyloidosis in the “slinky breeds” this past summer. Principal investigators are Leslie Lyons and Barbara Gandolfi, both Ph.D.’s at MU.