Longhair genes – langhårsgener

The natural coat for the domestic cat is shorthair. However many cat breeds have developed longhair coats. There are 4 different types of mutations in the FGF5 gene, that give longhair cats: Type Mutation Found in Breeds M4 A475C All longhair and semilonghair M3 474delT Maine Coon, Ragdoll M2 C406T Norwegian Forest cat M1 ins356T Ragdoll Maine Coons are known to have two of these longhair genes in their population: M3 and M4. It is unknown if the other types also exist in Maine Coon. The Maine Coon standard (the original) says: The fur on the front shoulders is short and should become gradually longer along the back towards the tail, ending in a shaggy, heavy coat on the “britches”. The sides of the cat’s coat should gradually get longer until the stomach is reached, where it should be long and full. A full ruff is not expected, however, there should be a slight frontal ruff beginning at the base of the ears. The fur on the tail should be long and full. Feet should be tufted. Coat should be fine, heavy, lustrous, and should fall smoothly. A slight undercoat may be carried. This is the optimum coat and will vary with climate. As many have observed, Maine Coons have quite a bit of variation in coat length and texture. Since a cat inherits one copy of the gene from each parent, the possible longhair combinations for MCO are:

  • M3/M3
  • M3/M4
  • M4/M4

It is uncertain how much these differences actually influence each individual cat’s coat type. We do know that within the Maine Coon breed, the variation in coat length and structure is quite large.  Actual coat types are obviously also decided by many other genes. Some also believe colours have an influence. Laboratories that do testing of longhair …

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