Genetic Research in Ragdolls


Even though breeders strive to breed only healthy animals, unfortunately issues do happen.
This fundraiser has been created to help fund a genetic research that can help keep our wonderful Ragdolls healthy. 

The first project we are fundraising for is one uterine horn/one kidney issue that has been happening in Ragdolls for several years. It will be conducted by Dr. Leslie Lyons and Dr. Susan Little. As soon as we raise the first $5000, Dr Lyons will be able to start analysing the DNA samples she has already received.

For several years Ragdoll breeders have reported cases of female cats missing a uterine horn and also the kidney on the same side. Male cats have been reported missing a kidney.

It is important to note that in almost all cases, females have both ovaries. There have been cases reported where a second spay surgery had to be performed to locate and remove the second ovary.

This defect may be called various names, such as uterus unicornis, uterine horn aplasia, uterine horn hypoplasia and renal agenesis.

This project will help to determine if and how this issue, which can happen in other breeds and domestic cats, is inherited in Ragdolls. We are hoping that the research will help develop a test to determine which cats carry the gene responsible for this issue so that we can eliminate this problem.

If you are a Ragdoll breeder who had this issue please contact Dr Lyons directly and please send DNA samples of both affected cat/kitten and it’s normal relatives so they can be inculded in this research. Please include an x-ray or a vet report if available that confirms the condition and send it to:

Leslie A. Lyons, PhD
Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine
Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
E109 Vet Med Building, 1600 E. Rollins St.
University of Missouri - Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211 Phone: 01 573 882 9777
Lab: 01 573 884 2287 Lab e-mail:
Professor Emerita - University of California - Davis

Another project that we are talking to Dr. Leslie Lyons about, and talking about repeating it, is genetic diversity* in Ragdolls. Genetic diversity project in Ragdolls was last done 15 years ago and it may no longer be relevant. There are several issues happening in the breed that could possibly be attributed to the inbreeding depression**.

To better understand why genetic diversity is very important for any species, please see articles written by Carol Beuchat, PhD:

*Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary. Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing environments.

**Inbreeding depression is the reduced biological fitness in a given population as a result of inbreeding, or breeding of related individuals. Population biological fitness refers to an organism's ability to survive and perpetuate its genetic material. Inbreeding depression is often the result of a population bottleneck.

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Aleksandra Von Imp 
Los Angeles, CA
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