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Pup Health: Hereditary Disorders in Dogs More Common Than Initially Thought, According to New Study

Aug 23, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Puppy genetics take a leap with a new medical breakthrough. A recent study revealed that a lot of canine hereditary disorders are more widespread than originally believed.
(Photo : Getty Images/Stringer)

Puppy genetics take a leap with a new medical breakthrough. A recent study revealed that a lot of hereditary disorders of canine are more widespread than originally believed.

According to a report from the University of Helsinki, the team tested nearly 7,000 dogs of about 230 different breeds for predisposition to almost 100 genetic disorders. They discovered that one out of six dogs had at least one of the tested disease predisposing genetic variants in their genome.

Further proving the disorders are more common than believed, they also observed that one in six of the genetic variants for disorders was found in a dog breed it has not been previously recorded in.

"The technological potential to test a dog for multiple inherited disorders at once has existed for several years," Dr. Jonas Donner, lead author from Genoscoper Laboratories, explained. "The challenge is to harness that potential for practical use in improved veterinary disease diagnostics, sustainable breeding selections, personalized pet care, and canine genetics research."

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was led by Finnish company Genoscoper Ltd. in partnership with researchers from the University of Helsinki and Pennsylvania. It's considered the most comprehensive study on canine hereditary disorders so far.

"Our study demonstrates the importance of collaboration between different contributors -- academics, industry and dog fanciers -- to reach novel resources that not only enable better understanding of canine genetic health across breeds but also provides viable solutions to improve the health," Dr. Hannes Lohi, senior author from the University of Helsinki, said.

He also stressed the value of the different specializations working together, adding, "The published study provides also an excellent example of the added value of research collaborations between academia and industry in a form that leads to a powerful innovation that start changing the everyday practice in veterinary medicine and improves the welfare of our dogs."

Senior author Dr. Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki canine genetics research group pointed out that these findings "opens up the door for several future scientific investigations."

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