AIMS: To determine the frequency of the FAS-ligand gene (FASLG) variant associated with feline autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (FALPS) and the proportion of carriers of the variant in three British shorthair (BSH) breeding catteries in New Zealand. METHODS: Buccal swabs were collected from all cats in two BSH breeding catteries from the South Island and one from the North Island of New Zealand. DNA was extracted and was tested for the presence of the FASLG variant using PCR. Cats with the FASLG variant were identified and the frequency of the FASLG variant allele calculated. Pedigree analysis was performed and inbreeding coefficients were calculated for cats with the FASLG variant. RESULTS: Of 32 BSH cats successfully tested for the presence of the FASLG variant, one kitten (3%) was homozygous (FALPS-affected), and seven (22%) cats were heterozygous (carriers) for the FASLG variant allele, and 24 (75%) cats were homozygous for the wild type allele. The overall frequency of the FASLG variant allele in these 32 cats was 0.14. Cats carrying the FASLG variant were from all three breeding catteries sampled, including two catteries that had not previously reported cases of FALPS. Pedigree analysis revealed common ancestry of FALPS-affected and carrier cats within six generations, as well as frequent inbreeding, with inbreeding coefficients >0.12 for five cats with the FASLG variant. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: There was a high frequency of the FASLG variant allele (0.14) in this small sample of BSH cats, with 22% of healthy cats identified as carriers of the FASLG variant. For an inherited disease, lethal at a young age, in a small population in which inbreeding is common, these results are significant. To prevent future cases of disease and stop further spread of the FASLG variant allele within the BSH population in New Zealand, it is recommended that all BSH and BSH-cross cats be tested for the presence of the FASLG variant before mating. Cats identified as carriers of the variant allele should be desexed and not used for breeding. Results support the need for further investigations of the true frequency of the FASLG variant allele and occurrence of FALPS in the wider population of BSH cats in New Zealand.
- Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS)
- British shorthair
- FAS ligand gene (FASLG)
- feline autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (FALPS)
- inherited disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas