PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy,which is an inherited disease that can lead to blindness. To be affected a kitten has to inherit the gene from both parents – in other words it’s a recessive gene.
Back in the 1960s an Abysinian called Tranby Red Tutankhamen was used in a breeding program that was attempting to better understand some genetics of coat colour. The program disproved what it was attempting to prove, but bequeathed several things to the Oriental breed:
- the recessive longhair-gene which has lead to the development of the Oriental Longhair
- the Cinnamon gene giving us cinnamon and fawn Orientals
- the PRA gene
The first two are beneficial, the last isn’t.
Thankfully there is now a gene test for PRA. I have tested Lola and she is negative – not a carrier – so none of her kittens can every be affected.
If you are interested here are a couple of links: