Ten breeds sign up to Give a Dog a Genome

Created: 09/02/2016

TEN breeds have signed up to be sequenced as part of a new ground-breaking initiative.

  The goal is to create the UK’s largest canine genome bank, and only two weeks since the project’s official launch close to 30 breeds have registered an interest in taking part in the Animal Health Trust’s (AHT) Give a Dog a Genome.

  The ten breeds have each raised the £1,000 donation, and another 11 breeds have pledged to do so in order to be one of the 50 breeds whose DNA is to be sequenced using the latest technology.

  Each £1,000 will be matched by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

  The first ten breeds are the Tibetan Terrier, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, Pug, Briard, Large Munsterlander, Bedlington Terrier, Finnish Lapphund, Hungarian Vizsla, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Dachshund

  The project has hit its first major milestone, the AHT said, and is already a fifth of the way towards its goal to whole genome sequence DNA from 50 different breeds.

  The project will arm the AHT with a much more comprehensive understanding of the canine genome – all 2.4 billion letters of DNA – in order to identify disease mutations more effectively in the future.

  Dr Cathryn Mellersh, head of the KC Genetics Centre at the AHT, said: “We’ve been blown away by the response to the project so far and I’m just amazed that ten breeds have already supported the project, with many more breeds already starting to raise their £1,000 donation.

  “The proactive attitude of so many breeds to get behind this project in such a short space of time really shows how much these breed communities care about doing all they can to try to keep their breeds healthy.

  “The Dachshund community in particular was able to use Go Fund Me to raise £1,000 online in less than week, and are keen to raise more money so that more than one variety of Dachshund can be included in the research.

  “It’s just fantastic to see such overwhelming support for what we’re trying to do with this project. The knowledge we have the potential to gain from this genome bank will, in time, benefit all breeds, not just those 50 that are included now.”

  Dachshund breed council chairman Roger Sainsbury said he was delighted to be part of the project.

  “This will produce a reference DNA sequence for the whole of the Dachshund’s genetic make-up which will be an invaluable starting point for tests for genetic diseases and also for more fundamental genetic research,” he said.

  "Remarkable advances in technology have made this possible; only 14 years ago the first sequencing of a dog’s genome cost 30m US dollars!”

For more information on Give a Dog a Genome visit www.aht.org.uk/gdg.

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