Genetics Picture

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Gangliosidosis - GM1 and GM2

Gangliosidosis is a hereditary disease (actually two, GM1 and GM2) caused by a defective enzyme. This results in that a substance is stored in the brain of the affected cat. The first symptoms can be seen at the age of 2-4 months, when the cat starts showing bad coordination in the back legs, weakness and tremor. This gradually gets worse and leads to paralysis, blindness and epileptic seizures. The disease is lethal.

There are, as mentioned above, two variations of this disease, GM1 and GM2. Both are caused by single recessive genes. Fortunately a DNA-test exists for both varieties, so one can test relatives to the afflicted cats with a blood test.