A project aimed at “radically enhancing” understanding of canine genetics and inherited disease by creating the UK’s largest dog genome bank has reached another major milestone.
Researchers from the AHT hope the Give a Dog a Genome (GDG) project will give them a better understanding of where neutral variants occur in dogs’ DNA and where variants occur that may have a negative effect on health.
This will help them identify mutations that contribute to disease and develop a range of new DNA tests at a faster rate.
By sequencing the genome of one canine from 77 different breeds and analysing all 2.4 billion letters of DNA per genome, researchers hope to learn which genetic variants are neutral and which have a negative effect on health.
To date, DNA samples from 40 dogs, comprising 38 different breeds, have been sent for sequencing, most affected with one of 16 different inherited diseases, all of which will act as key research areas throughout the project.
Sequencing has been completed for 36 of the 40 dogs and the data for these 36 genomes has been received by the AHT for analysis.
Cathryn Mellersh, head of canine genetics at the AHT, told of her excitement at having reached this “very important stage”.
She said: “We have shown we can generate and analyse vast amounts of sequence data efficiently, and the next few months should see the fruits of all the hard work start to become apparent in terms of new mutations identified.”
It is hoped all of the DNA will be sequenced by the end of the year, enabling analysis to get underway in 2018, which, in turn, will allow the scientists to start using the genome bank to identify disease-causing mutations.
- Read the full story in the 19 June issue of Veterinary Times.