UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

School of Veterinary Medicine

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Feline Research Projects

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 UC Davis.  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, the Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH) or the School of Veterinary Medicine Development Office.


Contact the Lyons’ Den

Leslie Lyons PhD
SVM Population Health & Reproduction
4206 VetMed 3A University of Calfornia, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
530-754-2287 (4-CATS)
Email : felinegenome@ucdavis.edu and lalyons@ucdavis.edu