Blood Group DNA Testing
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Recently, the DNA sequence that result in the specific feline blood groups was found, enabling DNA testing to identify a cat’s blood group.
A cat’s blood group is controlled by a gene called cytidine monophosphate-N-acetylneuramic acid hydroxylase (CMAH). This gene is responsible for the production of specific chemicals in the cats red blood cells.
The “A” allele encodes a fully functioning CMAH enzyme while the aab allele codes for a partially active enzyme and the “b” allele encodes a inactive enzyme.
Knowing a cat’s blood group can be important, particularly in preventing a condition known as neonatal isoerythrolysis. Neonatal isoerythrolysis can occur in kittens when a B type queen is bred to an A type male. Type A kittens will then absorb the A type antibodies found in the mothers colostrum when nursing, leading to a haemolytic crisis.
The detection of the mutation that causes the differences in the blood groups can be identified by DNA testing. The presence of the mutation has been designated as the “b” allele. Hence a cat that has inherited two copies of the “b” allele (ie bb) will have the B blood group. If, on the other hand a cat inherits either one copy, or no copies of the “b” allele will either be Type A or Type AB. It is important to note that this test cannot distinguish between Types A or AB.
A simple cheek swab will enable breeders to identify carriers of the “b” allele and plan breed programs accordingly.
(Please note that DNA testing in Ragdolls is currently not validated)
Result Blood Type Interpretation
non-b / non-b Type A or Type AB
b / non-b Type A or Type AB (carrier of b)
b / b Type B