Is the future of dog health in a DNA test?

phys.org | 11/26/2018 | Staff
Kaliela101 (Posted by) Level 3
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Information from commercial DNA tests helped reveal the genetic origins of the husky's captivating blue eyes and may even help us treat some diseases. But not everyone agrees.

Have you ever been captivated by the bright blue eyes of a husky puppy? Well, now scientists have discovered the genetic inner workings behind the blue eyes of Siberian huskies.

Study - Duplication - Stretch - DNA - Dog

The new study found that a duplication in a stretch of DNA on the dog chromosome 18 was associated with the husky's icy stare. This stretch of DNA is close to a gene called ALX4, involved with eye development in humans. This is a good indication the region is involved in the same function for dogs.

The study was led by American company Embark, which makes DNA tests for dogs. These tests aim to uncover potentially preventable diseases in our furry friends. They're also used to confirm the breed or breed mix of your dog or just about any other trait of the animal.

Dog - DNA - Research - Study - Veterinarians

The dog DNA collected can also contribute to valuable scientific research, as this study shows. But some veterinarians say it's too early to hang all our hopes on DNA testing.

Discovering the secrets behind huskies' beautiful blues was made possible by analysing the genome of 3248 dogs and using an innovative approach to collect information. The company reached out to their customers for information about their dogs, even asking for photos of their dog's eye colour. With this information at hand, the team was able to focus on analysing the genome of blue-eyed dogs.

Approach - Researchers - Dataset - Time - Money

The approach was not only new but also pretty clever, as it allowed researchers to analyse a large dataset without having to spend any time or money collecting samples.

"It's a new way of doing dog genetic research. Instead of an academic researcher like me needing to ask the federal government...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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