Feline Research Projects

Cat Genetic Projects in the Lyons’ Feline Genetics Laboratory at MU

The Lyons’ Feline Genetics laboratory at MU pursues a plethora of genetic projects for the domestic cat, and some wild felids too! We attempt to find funding for each project, but often sample collection is a minimal cost and is a major prerequisite in order to initiate a formal study in the first place. Below is a lengthy list of projects. We tend to focus on the projects that obtain the most enthusiasm and cooperation from breeders and cat owners and also have funding. The squeaky wheel gets the attention – but you do have to play to win – by providing samples, health records, photographs and encouraging participation.


We will not tell others, even your friends, if you are participating. We never identify specific cats in projects, unless for some reason you want to do that in acknowledgements.

Anyone can participate!

Healthy cats or cats without the trait of interest are very important and are important controls for all studies – we generally never turn away any cat and any interested participant! Often we need help in other ways – such as spreading the news of the project and helping to understand your breed! Please examine the projects below and hopefully there will be a study appropriate for your cat’s participation! New recommendations of studies are always welcome!

Please note – all collected samples will be made available to other investigators upon request. There are many cat genetic projects and little funding, thus we strongly promote collaborations and or supporting other investigators with studies that our samples may assist!

Funding makes projects move forward to finding their genetic cause! Any support is appreciated. We apply to funding opportunities constantly, especially the Winn Feline Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Donations to Winn or to MU directly are greatly appreciated!

The Lyons’ feline research laboratory focuses on a variety of inherited diseases and traits of the domestic cat.  Supported by NIH funding (formerly NIH-NCRR R24 RR0016094 and is currently supported by the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs/OD R24OD010928), research includes the ascertainment and clinical work-up of new feline models for human disease, such as retinal degenerations (blindness), and inherited lymphoma.  The laboratory works closely with breeders / owners to support thorough clinical examinations and diagnostics to determine if presenting conditions have a significant genetic component.  If new traits or conditions are shown to be genetic, the laboratory team works with clinicians, researchers, owners and breeders around the world to help collect additional cases for evaluation, with the eventual hope of finding the causative gene and developing a genetic test.  Some traits and conditions are selected for closer genetic evaluation by inclusion in a genetic breeding colony for cats at Mizzou.  To participate in cat research, please see the list of active research projects above of follow this link: How to Participate.

Other projects do not require breeding colonies but closer interactions with breeders / owners to collect appropriate samples for genetic studies.  Some studies require the collection of detailed family members while others require only individual cases and normal controls.  In all studies, normal cats or cats without the trait are as important as affected cats.  Follow the links above to find more details regarding specific studies on coat colors, structural traits, and diseases.

The Lyons’ laboratory is always interested in new cat projects or supporting other researchers in their genetic research endeavors for cats.  Please contact the laboratory if you think you have a new and interesting genetic presentation in your cat!

To provide targeted funding via support and donations for feline genetics, please contact Dr. Lyons or the College of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Advancement.