Research Towards a DNA Test for the LaPerm Gene
A DNA test for the LaPerm gene would be very useful for breeders in determining which LaPerms carry the straight hair gene. The research and the increase in scientific knowledge would also be fascinating.
Professor Leslie Lyons and her team at the University of Missouri have led on the search for the gene but they have not yet found it and need to do more work to look at another set of candidate genes.
They currently have a dataset ready for further work with 195 cats in the dataset. One of them is a known homozygous LaPerm (Quincunx Flibbertygibbet whose pet name was Mouse) and no other cats in the dataset are reported as LaPerms so none should have the same gene. They have set the analysis as: Mouse has two copies of a mutation and NO other cats in the dataset have the same mutation.
In Leslie’s words:
“This leads us to about 21 – 37 suspects that alter the protein. (There are scads more that do not alter the protein). Unfortunately, none of the genes are known to cause a hair coat abnormality – in any species. But, we have no idea what all the functions of a given gene are – so – no big surprise – just not lucky. Several of the candidate variants are on one chromosome – which may indicate a region of linkage disequilibrium / selection. Hence, we would look there first, about 6 genes. Unfortunately, we did not get a hit on a suspect candidate gene. We were hoping for one of the other KRT genes, but alas.”
The team will now need to raise more money to continue the research on the LaPerm and investigate these potential genes which have been identified. A significant sum of a few thousand dollars will be required. The LaPerm project was included in a new fundraising video for “Giving Day” in the USA.
But people all around the world with an interest in LaPerms are asked to help to keep the research going and raise funds towards it.
If you have any ideas for fundraising then please share them and if anyone wants to donate they should do so through the 99 Lives website:
Follow the link and click on the box saying ‘Click Here To Donate’. Then add your amount and in the box that says ‘Please share with us why you are giving’ you should write ‘I would like to contribute to the LaPerm gene project’.
If we all chip in we can make it happen! Let’s hope for success so that we can learn more about our wonderful breed!