Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies a Missense Mutation in HES7 Associated with Short Tails in Asian Domestic Cats

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Xu, Xiao ; Sun, Xin ; Hu, Xue-Song ; Zhuang, Yan ; Liu, Yue-Chen ; Meng, Hao ; Miao, Lin ; Yu, He ; Luo, Shu-Jin (2016)
  • Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
  • Journal: Scientific Reports, volume 6 (issn: 2045-2322, eissn: 2045-2322)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4997960, doi: 10.1038/srep31583
  • Subject: Article

Domestic cats exhibit abundant variations in tail morphology and serve as an excellent model to study the development and evolution of vertebrate tails. Cats with shortened and kinked tails were first recorded in the Malayan archipelago by Charles Darwin in 1868 and remain quite common today in Southeast and East Asia. To elucidate the genetic basis of short tails in Asian cats, we built a pedigree of 13 cats segregating at the trait with a founder from southern China and performed linkage mapping based on whole genome sequencing data from the pedigree. The short-tailed trait was mapped to a 5.6 Mb region of Chr E1, within which the substitution c. 5T > C in the somite segmentation-related gene HES7 was identified as the causal mutation resulting in a missense change (p.V2A). Validation in 245 unrelated cats confirmed the correlation between HES7-c. 5T > C and Chinese short-tailed feral cats as well as the Japanese Bobtail breed, indicating a common genetic basis of the two. In addition, some of our sampled kinked-tailed cats could not be explained by either HES7 or the Manx-related T-box, suggesting at least three independent events in the evolution of domestic cats giving rise to short-tailed traits.
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