Prevalence of A31P mutation in the Maine Coon population is around 26%

Like many purebred cats, the Maine Coon can suffer from inherited genetic illnesses which is a great shame because it is a stain on the breeding of this wonderful American cat. This beautiful cat can inherit at least five diseases one of which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy a.k.a. HCM. And, to the best of my knowledge, it is still work in progress as to what mutated genes cause this disease. One of them is the A31P mutation referred to in the title. I have an article on another heart disease caused by a genetic mutation which can read by clicking on this link.

Glorious Maine Coon. The presence of the photo does not infer that this cat suffers from an inherited disease. Photo in the public domain.

The figure of 26%, referred to in the title, comes from Langford Vets who provide cat genetic testing to help breeders and I presume veterinarians and cat owners understand whether their cats or cat carry one of these genetic mutations. They are based in Bristol, UK. Their Molecular Diagnostic Unit offer genetic testing for HCM in both Maine Coons and Ragdoll cats. They have developed PCR assays to identify these genes. One test costs £38.70.

They state that the mutations cause "amino acid changes within the cardiac myosin binding protein and are believed to alter the protein structure and function."

The risk for heart disease is greater in homozygous cats than for heterozygotes cats which means that where there are two copies of this mutated gene the chances of the cat suffering from the disease is greater which makes sense. However, the picture is muddied by the fact that there are "as yet unidentified genetic mutations" which can also cause HCM or modify the risk of inheriting it.


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