Tag archives: cancer

Germline and Somatic Genetic Mutations in Dogs

Germline and Somatic Genetic Mutations in Dogs

My last blog discussed the complexity of inherited cancer predisposition syndromes.  A concept was introduced about the types of genetic mutations that can predispose a dog (or human) for cancer.  Some genetic mutations are passed through the blood line, while other genetic mutations are NOT passed on to the next generation.  Today, I would like to address this idea in greater detail.  These genetic mutations are called germline and somatic

Germline mutations are passed through the generations.  These are the mutations that show different modes of inheritance: dominant, recessive, X-linked, and mitochondrial.  Germline mutations are present in the sex cells (sperm and/or egg) and can affect multiple pups in a litter.  These are the mutations Paw Print Genetics offers testing for, which may impact breeding practices.  Breeders equipped with this information have the power to reduce, and maybe even eliminate, these mutations from breeding lines.  

Somatic mutations are genetic changes in the cells of the individual.  These mutations are usually not present at birth and can occur in any cell or organ over time.  These are usually due to environmental influences, although the exact triggers are often ...

Breed of the Week: Rottweiler

Breed of the Week: Rottweiler

Descended from Roman drover dogs, which were used to drive and protect the cattle herds of Roman soldiers on the warpath, the Rottweiler maintains its herding and guarding instincts to this day, while also using its intelligence, size and athleticism to perform duties as varied as police dog, guide dog and search-and-rescue dog.

The Rottweiler was developed in the German town of Rottweil, where its continued use was as guardian and protector of cattle being pushed to market. They were also used by butchers as guard dogs, which earned them the nickname ‘butcher dogs.’

Two historic events played a huge role in the Rottweiler’s popularity. Technological advancements, specifically the railroad, nearly led the breed to extinction. As railroads could move goods to market faster, cattlemen began using the iron horses instead of driving them with dogs. Throughout history, many breeds have gone extinct when their primary purpose was supplanted by technological advances or social changes.

The two great World Wars also nearly led to the extinction of several breeds, but for the Rottweiler, it was a saving grace. The demand for police dogs grew exponentially with the wars, and that renewed interest in Rotties, which were used as draught ...

Inherited Cancers in Dogs

Inherited Cancers in Dogs

In the world of human genetics, stories related to hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes have recently made quite a splash in the media.  For example, actress Angelina Jolie made a very public decision to have a double mastectomy in order to reduce her breast cancer risk.  There are other popular stories as well.  Although hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes are not as common in the canine population as they are in the human population, knowing a little information about these genetic conditions and how they work may impact breeding practices

What exactly is a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome?  Those are a lot of complicated words.  Let’s dissect that phrase: 

                  Hereditary – inherited, genetic, passed from parent to offspring. 

                  Cancer – uncontrolled invasive abnormal cell growth. 

                  Predisposition – tendency towards or gravitation to. 

                  Syndrome – a group of symptoms with a single cause.

A hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome gives the affected individual a tendency to develop cancer.  Cancer, for the most part, is multifactorial.  That means there are genetic and environmental influences.  However, hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes have a much greater genetic influence than environmental influence ...