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Study reveals mixed breed and pedigree disease predictions

Issue: 11/05/2018

Genetic testing can now predict if a dog is at risk of developing certain diseases, according to results of a new study. 

Frequency and distribution of 152 genetic disease variants in over 100,000 mixed breed and purebred dogs, published in PLOS Genetics was conducted by Wisdom Health and Genoscoper Laboratories. It is the first research of its type to show the genetic diseases that mixed breed dogs, as well as pedigrees,  are most likely to develop. The study also shows that fewer mixed breed dogs than purebreds are affected by the most common disease-causing mutations tested in the study. 

Knowing a dog's disease-related genetic make-up could enable owners, breeders and veterinarians to make more informed decisions about a dog's health. The research was based on genetic testing technology that can be used at home.

'There has been a long-standing perception that mixed breed dogs are less disease-prone than purebred dogs," said Cindy Cole DVM, Ph.D., DACVCP, general manager at Wisdom Health. "This DNA-testing-based evidence shows that while mixed breed dogs are in fact less likely than purebreds to develop the recessive disorders evaluated in the study, they may still be carriers. Importantly it's now clear that all dogs can benefit from genetic testing. It's exciting that new diagnostic tools are now available to veterinarians, breeders and owners alike to enable them to make more informed decisions about overall care for dogs."

Based on the 152 diseases tested: Approximately two out of 100 mixed breed dogs are at risk of becoming affected and 40 out of 100 are carriers for at least one of the diseases.
Approximately five out of 100 purebred dogs are at risk of becoming affected and 28 out of 100 are carriers for at least one of the diseases.

The findings also confirmed that some diseases appear to have been eradicated from breed pools through DNA testing and careful breeding. With the proactive management of inherited disorders through the use of DNA testing and sustainable breeding decisions, breeders and veterinarians can work to decrease the incidence of genetic diseases in dogs. 

"For owners, understanding for which genetic diseases their dog is at risk can help them and their vets design a personalized care and wellness programme for  their dog," said Jonas Donner, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Genoscoper. 

The study examined the DNA of more than 100,000 dogs, including 18,000 purebreds representing 330 breeds, types and varieties and 83,000 mixed breed dogs, for the presence of 152 genetic disease mutations.

Some of the genetic disease mutations tested include: Progressive Retinal Atrophy in multiple forms, Hyperuricosuria, Collie Eye Anomaly, Multidrug sensitivity (MDR1) and von Willebrand's Disease in multiple 

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