Chapter 7: Genetics of the Silvers and Goldens


I am not qualified as a genetics expert. There are many, many, many books on genetics in general and on cat genetics in particular. When I compiled the proposal for recognition of the Original Longhair in 2010, I had to include a chapter on the genetics of Silvers and Goldens. I only covered the colour genetics in that proposal, but in this chapter I will also address the inheritable disease of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and the brahycephalic mutation. 

The colour genetics of the Original Silver and Golden Longhairs include the following:
  • The tabby gene
  • The colour inhibitor gene
  • The wide-band gene
  • The dilution gene and
  • The longhair gene.

Coat Colour Genetics

The genetic coat colour influences on shaded or tipped cats are: 
  • Agouti gene (A): the ground-colour of tabby; hairs banded yellow/orange
  • Tabby pattern genes
  • B = Black pigment with 
          * D = Dense pigmentation or 
          * d = Dilute pigmentation (which changes black to blue)
    “The dilution gene (d) in cats has been shown to be a gene called MLPH, which is an abbreviation for melanophilin. This is the same gene and protein that is responsible for dilute colors in the dog. In cats, there has been just one mutation identified which results in dilution of black pigment to blue or grey. This is a recessive trait, so it is possible to carry dilute (Dd) and not show it, and any dilute kittens must have inherited one copy of "d" from each parent.” [18] 
  • Silver or Melanin inhibitor gene where 
         * I = inhibitor gene and suppresses pigmentation in parts of hairs,
                 making them appear translucent under a microscope and
         * i = Normal pigmentation. 
  • Full development of pigmentation
  • Factors affecting the number and width of bands of colour on each hair (such as the hypothetical wide band gene).


Cats have 38 Chromosomes – 19 pairs of DNA