Tag archives: canine genetic testing

Avoiding An Improper Canine Hair Coat Through Genetic Testing

Avoiding An Improper Canine Hair Coat Through Genetic Testing

Selective breeding for particular behavioral and physical characteristics has made the domestic dog one of the most fascinating case studies in species domestication. The massive amount of diversity that humans have bred into their canine companions is unmatched by other species, domestic or otherwise. It is fun to imagine how unusual it would seem if humans were routinely as physically diverse as Chihuahuas and mastiffs!

One trait that has been selected for in some dog breeds is a trait known as “furnishings”. For the uninformed, furnishings are a trait marked by a wiry hair texture as well as increased hair growth on the face and legs. This trait is important to some breeders as it is associated with the presence of a canine moustache and long eyebrows which are listed as breed standards for some breeds. Dogs of these breeds that are born without furnishings are often said to have been born with an “improper coat” (a term frequently used by breeders). In 2010, a mutation in the RSPO2 gene was discovered to be responsible for the presence of furnishings in the Portuguese water dog. Since then, tests for this trait have been developed allowing for discovery of the same ...

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: An Inherited Disease of the English Springer Spaniel

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: An Inherited Disease of the English Springer Spaniel

The intelligent, prey-driven English springer spaniel (ESS) has forged its path as a popular, hardworking companion for bird hunters while maintaining a loyal and affectionate personality suitable to family life. Until the early 1900’s, springer spaniels were produced in the same litters as cocker spaniels; springers were chosen from the largest puppies of the litter and were trained for flushing or “springing” game while the smaller littermates were labeled cocker spaniels and were trained for hunting the elusive woodcock. Since then, springer spaniels have been further split into the generally leaner, shorter haired field (hunting) variety and the denser boned, densely haired show (“bench”) line. Unfortunately, like other purebred dogs, English springer spaniels are known to inherit genetic diseases that can keep some individuals from reaching the great potentials for which the breed is capable. One such inherited condition is an eye disease known as progressive retinal atrophy, cone-rod dystrophy 4 (PRA-crd4) caused by a mutation in the RPGRIP1 gene.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is not a single disease, but rather a group of inherited diseases each caused by different genetic mutations in different genes. The various forms of PRA affect over 100 different dog breeds. Though there are variations ...

Stupid Human Tricks. How Well Does Your Dog Have You Trained?

Stupid Human Tricks. How Well Does Your Dog Have You Trained?

We train our dogs to do certain things, like sit, stay, lay down, retrieve or even run through an agility course. Training a dog takes patience and persistence. It means providing consistent clues that your dog will eventually come to understand if done in the same manner. But I’ve recently come to wonder, have I trained my dog, or has she trained me?

Every time we sit down to eat dinner, our dog Daisy runs to the front door, whips around and stares at us. Invariably, one of us says, “Daisy needs to go out” and my daughter groans, gets up and lets her out.   Most of the time, Daisy does her business, but sometimes, she runs out to the middle of the yard, expecting my daughter to follow her and hopefully play.  This has led us to believe that Daisy’s behavior of running to the door and then staring us down, has trained us to respond in a particular way, and has us wondering if she brags to the other dogs that she has trained her human to stand up and open the door on command.

Likewise, Trixie the Wiener Dog has my husband trained to take ...

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

Understanding complex inherited diseases in your dog

When we look at the vast majority of genetic tests currently available for canine inherited diseases, we find a large number of diseases that can be predictably diagnosed with our current technology. For most of the available canine genetic tests, dog breeders understand that there are three commonly used designations applied to a dog for any given inherited disease; normal, carrier or affected. By knowing the way a disease is inherited (recessive vs dominant vs X-linked) and the number of copies of a mutation present in an individual, genetic testing laboratories like Paw Print Genetics can give predictable information about these diseases because they have a clear, 100% correlation between the cause and the illness. 

Unfortunately for dog breeders, inheritance is not always as clear cut as a simple recessive or dominant pattern. In fact, the diseases with a clear-cut inheritance pattern likely only make up a small percentage of the diseases with inherited components. Some of the most frustrating diseases for dog breeders and geneticists are those which pose an increased risk by the combined effects of multiple genetic mutations and/or environmental conditions. In these multifactorial diseases, rather than a 100% correlation between a singular genetic mutation ...

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

An earlier article discussed congenital vs. adult onset conditions.  There seems to be some confusion as to the importance of the timing of disease symptoms.  I wanted to expand on the topic that we refer to as “age of onset”, or the age in which a condition starts to show symptoms.  Breeders may initially only be concerned with conditions that are congenital – present at birth.  While I agree that genetic screening for congenital disorders is important, screening for adult-onset conditions is also important, and should not be ignored.

Testing for congenital genetic conditions is probably a “no-brainer” for most breeders.  Genetic testing gives someone the knowledge to selectively breed dogs in order to reduce (or even eliminate) genetic diseases in the newborn pup.  As you may already know, breeding takes time and considerable resources.  Most breeders are also emotionally invested in the dogs they breed.  For many, it’s not just a hobby; it may be a full-time job or even a way of life.  Congenital diseases may cause a lot of discomfort to the affected pup, and can cause anxiety for everyone involved.  The cost of medical care may ...

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Making Canine Genetic Testing Easier: DNA Collection

Since we opened Paw Print Genetics in April of 2013, we have had the opportunity to work with many breeders and other dog owners who already had previous experience with genetic testing of their dogs. Though the vast majority of these clients have praised us for our ease of ordering, unrivaled customer service, and quick test results, some clients have expressed some confusion in regards to why (or how) we use cheek swabs as our default method of DNA collection opposed to other methods that they were already familiar with.

In The Beginning

When making choices about how Paw Print Genetics would operate, we decided we wanted to eliminate as many barriers to canine inherited disease testing as possible. Not only did we want to make testing more convenient by offering as many disease tests as possible under one roof, we also wanted to make the experience of DNA collection easy and more convenient. To accomplish this, we chose to allow our clients to collect DNA in their own home or kennel with cheek swabs we provide (at no additional cost) after an order is placed. This decision eliminates the time, effort, and expense our clients had previously had to ...

Paw Print Genetics' August Events

Paw Print Genetics' August Events

Paw Print Genetics will be attending two events in the month of August.  First, you will find our booth at the Olympic Kennel Club show at the Enumclaw Expo Center August 14-17. 2014.  Specialties include the Rainier Sporting Dog Association, Samoyed, Keeshond, Chihuahua, German shorthaired pointers and English cocker spaniels, among many others. The Olympic Kennel Club was formed in 1944 after the end of World War II.  This all breed show attracts about 3,000 participants and visitors during four days.  Stop by the Paw Print Genetics booth. We will have discounted testing during the weekend and can even swab your dog while you enjoy the show.

Since 1982, Game Fair has been held in Ramsey, MN and Paw Print Genetics will be there.  During two weekends in August, more than 20,000 people visit the 80-acre site outside Anoka, MN.  August 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, and 17 will be days filled with archery, dog events, goose and turkey calling, and even a taxidermy competition.  Have fun while you learn about canine genetics listening to our seminar What do you know about your dog's genetics? on one of ...

What Can We Learn From Large Corporations about Customer Service?

What Can We Learn From Large Corporations about Customer Service?

I recently took a trip to Colorado Springs to visit colleges with my son. I enjoyed spending time with him and visiting Colorado College. We were very impressed with the student-led information session and campus tour. The students were knowledgeable, poised, enthusiastic and inviting. If these undergraduates are a reflection of the school and its caliber of students and faculty, then I know that my son will do well there. We left with an overwhelmingly positive impression of the school, the campus and the region. I would give our student ambassadors an A-plus for customer service during our visit. However, during our trip we were customers of several other companies and many of them fell short of superior, or even acceptable, customer service.

Our flight to Colorado Springs was uneventful and the staff of United Airlines did an exceptional job in making us feel special and that they appreciated our business. However, when we landed in Colorado Springs, things started to fall apart.

We arrived promptly at the Hertz counter to find that the car we had reserved and paid for weeks in advance had been given to someone else. Hertz claimed to have no cars to rent to us ...

Mitochondrial Inheritance is Responsible for Canine Disease

Mitochondrial Inheritance is Responsible for Canine Disease

My last two articles on dominant and recessive inheritance and X-linked inheritance have built upon each other and discussed different types of inheritance: dominant, recessive and X-linked.  These three modes of genetic transmission are fairly straightforward compared with the topic of today’s post, which is mitochondrial inheritance.  Maybe you’ve never heard of the word “mitochondria” before.  Or perhaps just reading the word brings you back to high school cell biology.  While this may be a rare form of inheritance, diagnosing a dog with a mitochondrial disorder may impact how breeders choose to breed their animals.

Before we discuss the mitochondrial inheritance, let’s talk about mitochondria. Just like our bodies need organs to function (kidneys, heart, liver, etc.), cells have organelles too.  One of the organelles is called a mitochondrion or mitochondria (plural).  Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of the cell.  They create energy through a series of biochemical reactions.  The number of mitochondria can change depending on the type of cell (muscle, nerve, skin, etc.). 

The neat thing about mitochondria is that they have their own set of DNA, called mtDNA, separate from the DNA found in the nucleus; mtDNA is ...

Beyond Dominant and Recessive: X-Linked Canine Inheritance

Beyond Dominant and Recessive:  X-Linked Canine Inheritance

My last blog talked about the basics of two types of inheritance for genetic conditions found in dogs: dominant and recessive.  To review, dominant conditions need one copy of the mutated gene in order for the dog to show symptoms.  Recessive conditions need both copies of the mutated gene inherited from each parent to have the disease.  Knowing the difference can change the way breeders choose which dogs to breed.  However, the wonderful world of genetics is not that simple.  Another pattern of inheritance is called X-linked, or sex-linked.  Although it is not as common as dominant and recessive; it is important to know which diseases follow this inheritance pattern, because it may impact breeding.

Dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes (humans have 23).  Something dogs and humans have in common is the X and Y chromosomes determine gender.  XX is a female while XY is a male.  Females always give away an X chromosome to their offspring.  So, it is the male that determines gender for the next generation.  If he passes on the X chromosome, the offspring is female.  If he passes on the Y chromosome ...