1607: Hereditary and DNA Studies in Cataracts in the Bichon Frise

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $43,600
Kirk Gelatt, VMD; University of Florida
September 24, 1998 - September 23, 2000

Sponsor(s): Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc.

Breed(s): Bichon Frise
Research Program Area: Ophthalmology
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Project Summary

This study found that male and female Bichon Frises are equally affected by cataracts, and that affected dogs come from normal parents, strengthening the hypothesis that cataracts are an autosomal recessive trait in the breed. Researchers studied about 1200 dogs to characterize the cataracts found in the breed (the characteristics of inherited cataracts are distinct in each breed). They performed DNA studies on 270 blood samples, looking for the gene or genetic marker responsible for the disease in the Bichon Frise. While they have not yet found the gene, the research provided a foundation for continued research to find it. The pedigree research initiated in the study continues. Cataracts are one of the most frequently inherited eye diseases of the dog, affecting about 125 breeds. The Bichon Frise is particularly affected: an estimated 6 to 12 percent are affected with inherited cataracts and about 20 to 25 percent are carriers.


Gelatt, K. N., Wallace, M. R., Andrew, S. E., MacKay, E. O., & Samuelson, D. A. (2003). Cataracts in the Bichon Frise. Veterinary Ophthalmology, 6(1), 3–9. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1463-5224.2003.00258.x
Wallace, M. R., MacKay, E. O., Gelatt, K. N., & Andrew, S. E. (2005). Inheritance of cataract in the Bichon Frise. Veterinary Ophthalmology, 8(3), 203–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1463-5224.2005.00359.x

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