Copyright information:  information content copyright owned by Cat World expires 70 years from March 1973 at which time the information minus the research notes may be placed in the public domain.
Research Note:  Here is an article which has been partially converted for online presentation.  It is from the March/April 1974  issue of Cat World which holds the copyright for the text.  This text has not been split into separate files so that it makes for easier printing.  Question:  Is it better to allow for printing or optimize for reading and information chunking.  Note the graphics additions to visually break the text.  Note the bolding of terms and the links to other information -- which add a new original dimension to the work and enhance the information offering.

College of Cat Genetics
by Patricia Turner
 

Lesson 1: Reproduction and Inheritance
 


Many people consider the word genetics to be one that describes theories about inheritance which may or may not be proved in practice.  There is a lot of discussion about the relative merits of theory and practice. Any serious fancier will immediately understand that the one must go with the other.  No one is likely to assert that cats cannot be bred without the conscious application of a knowledge of genetics--long before Mendel founded the science of heredity animal breeders had developed techniques of artificial selection and in fact the laws discovered by Mendel as a result of his experiments with peas were very nearly discovered by Mouse Fanciers first.  Perhaps their methods could best be described as the unconscious application of the science now known as genetics.

Thus it is quite possible to breed, quite by accident, the prizewinning cat of the year. The breeder may very well be a novice who has selected the mate for his queen purely out of  convenience of location or by attractiveness of appearance.  Immediately he repeats the mating he is utilizing the tools of inheritance by admitting that his prizewinner has a recipe.  If he were to attribute his achievement only to factors other than the inheritance of characteristics he would mate his queen to the next door tom cat but by rearing the resultant kits in a similar manner expect to repeat his success.

Experienced breeders have been known to state that they do not believe in genetics. However, they might as well state that there is no such thing as life itself; clearly reproduction is the means by which characters are inherited and if there were no such thing as reproduction and inheritance then life on this planet would be extinct. If reproduction did not serve to pass down inherited characteristics there would have been no evolution and division of life into orders and species. Man, as we know him today, would not exist.

Inheritance is not a simple process; sometime the characteristics of one parent predominate in a kitten; sometimes those of another. The inherited characters can be modified to a considerable extent by external factors--the body size is determined as much by the availability and suitability of food offered as by inheritance. There are therefore two main factors governing the growth and development of a kitten--the inherited factors and the environment factors. These articles will make an attempt to explain, in simple terms, the processes of reproduction and inheritance. Some aspects are described in very little detail and the breeder interested to pursue study of them is advised to read specialist literature. It would be impossible to undertake a complete explanation of all published knowledge in articles that are only intended to be a guide and simple explanation to the novice breeder.

Experienced breeders have been known to state that they do not believe in genetics. However, they might as well state that there is no such thing as life itself; clearly reproduction is the means by which characters are inherited and if there were no such thing as reproduction and inheritance then life on this planet would be extinct. If reproduction did not serve to pass down inherited characteristics there would have been no evolution and division of life into orders and species. Man, as we know him today, would not exist.

Many breeders will remember the articles on genetics that were published in the U.K. magazine Cats. These represented an attempt to explain the genetics of the pet and fancy cat in simple terms and great care was taken to include material that was acceptable as fact to international geneticists rather than to make statements based only upon opinion. The symbols and conventions of the Committee for Genetic Nomenclature were used throughout thus avoiding the confusion arising when different writers use different terms and symbols to describe the same character. The policy of bringing the cat fanciers and the professiional geneticists into a common language situation has already proven its value.

The articles were written several years ago and, in the interval between their publication and the launching of Cat World, several outstanding problems of cat genetics have been resolved, or partially resolved. This series will be based upon the original but will be revised and brought completely up to date. It is planned to keep the series up to date throughout its life by giving new information as it becomes available together with the page, issue and volume reference in the original statement.

The geneticist is rather like a detective for although the answers to many of our problems are there to be discovered the actual discovery takes knowledge, patience and a great deal of time. As each facet becomes clear and the information is published so a lead is given to those working in the same or similar fields. In these articles I will attempt to provide cat fanciers with an understanding of the basic principles of genetics, explain, as far as possible, how mutants the final character of the cat an dput forward new and up to date information as it is published in scientific literature.

Patrica Turner