Genomic era

Sept 2013 | Reproduction | Dr Emmanuel Fontaine

With the development of revolutionary genetic tools, breeders are able to better influence their breeding colony’s genetics.  These genetic tools will allow breeders to select more genetically robust individuals for pairings that will not only improve the health of the offspring, but also improve the breeding success of the pairing.  This article examines three genetic tools available to breeders in Australia and New Zealand.

For centuries, dedicated breeders have worked to improve the temperament, conformation, and health of their purebred dogs. In doing so, though, the breeding community has unfortunately had to contend with the concerns of smaller litter sizes, increased puppy mortality rates, and other health issues.  Gone are the days of mating two dogs on physical appearances alone.  New genetic tools exist to help breeders maintain their individual breed standards and desired traits while helping improve their genetic breeding pool and ultimately help produce healthier dogs.

DNA Testing

DNA Testing through suitably accredited laboratories has been available for 25 years or so, and today there are around 75 different tests available with more being developed.  It is now possible to identify the presence of particular genetically associated diseases in breeding animals.  Gone are the days where these diseases lay hidden only to appear in the offspring, or even the offspring’s offspring. There are a number of companies in Australia and New Zealand that offer this service.

Optimal Selection™

Optimal Selection™ is a tool developed by Mars (Veterinary Division) to help breeders choose more optimal pairings by using cutting edge genetic technology to look beyond pedigrees, examine the chromosomes of potential breeding matches, and make more educated selections.

Mars Veterinary’s Optimal Selection™ gives breeders “peace of mind” while taking away the guesswork in pairing their potential breeding partners. This test permits breeders to establish a “breeding score”, which can then be used to determine the most suitable pairings. Optimal Selection  is now available for more than 150 different breeds and numerous countries worldwide..

Genome Sequencing

The dog’s entire genetic code was mapped in 2005 by a group of scientists from the Institute of MIT and Harvard University in the USA. This ground-breaking achievement has allowed researchers to identify key genetic sequences that indicate particular diseases..

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