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Genetics Study Provides Information on Canine Hereditary Disorders

A study published recently looks at the risk of genetic diseases in dogs across a large spectrum of breeds.


An article published in the online journal, PLOSOne, in August reported the results of a survey by researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland and the University of Pennsylvania. The goal behind the project was to look at genetic variants in dogs for future practical use by veterinarians, such as aiding in the diagnosis of disease and providing more effective health care.

The researchers tested almost 7,000 dogs which included approximately 230 breeds from all over Europe, as well as from the U.S and Russia. They used a genotyping microarray to look at 93 known variants associated with with canine diseases. During the testing they managed to discover an additional 15 variants that were unknown prior to the test. Some of the genetic variants they looked at were for diseases such as von Willebrand's disease, chondrodysplasia, pyruvate kinase deficiency, rod-cone dysplasia, hyperuricosuria and cerebellar ataxia. The project is the first large scale review of DNA panel screening of purebred dogs, and the authors of the study recommend increasing future reviews to include more dog breeds and more genetic variants for disease in the future.

The researchers found that there were several alleles (one of two or more forms of a gene that arise by mutation and are found at the same place on a chromosome) that were more common among many different than had previously been thought (about 1/6th of the genetic variants studied). They also found that 15 out of 93 (about 1/6th) of the dogs tested had a genetic variant for a known disease in that specific breed.

The full study is available at PLOSOne.

Photo credit: Cooper via photopin (license)

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