A deletion in GDF7 is associated with a heritable forebrain commissural malformation concurrent with ventriculomegaly and interhemispheric cysts in cats.
An inherited neurologic syndrome in a family of mixed-breed Oriental cats has been characterized as forebrain commissural malformation concurrent with ventriculomegaly and interhemispheric cysts. However, the genetic basis for this autosomal recessive syndrome in cats is unknown. Forty-three cats were genotyped on the Illumina Infinium Feline 63K iSelect DNA Array and used for analyses. Genome-wide association studies, including a sib-transmission disequilibrium test, a case-control association analysis, and homozygosity mapping, identified a critical region on cat chromosome A3. Short-read whole genome sequencing was completed for a cat trio segregating with the syndrome. A homozygous 7 bp deletion in growth differentiation factor 7 (GDF7) (c.221_227delGCCGCGC [p.Arg74Profs]) was identified in affected cats by comparison to the 99 Lives Cat variant dataset, validated using Sanger sequencing, and genotyped by fragment analyses. This variant was not identified in 192 unaffected cats in the 99 Lives dataset. The variant segregated concordantly in an extended pedigree. Obligate carrier cats were heterozygous. In mice, GDF7 mRNA is expressed within the roof plate when commissural axons initiate ventrally-directed growth. This finding emphasizes the importance of GDF7 in the neurodevelopmental process in the mammalian brain. A genetic test can be developed for use by cat breeders to eradicate this variant. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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