Kennett’s AHT launches dog genome project to fight inherited disease

From the left Dr Sally Ricketts and Murphy a munsterlander, Dr Cathryn Mellersh with Ol� a Papillon and Chris Jenkins from the Kennel Club Genetics Centre  with Maisie a Hungarian vizsla. ANL-160127-124540001
From the left Dr Sally Ricketts and Murphy a munsterlander, Dr Cathryn Mellersh with Ol� a Papillon and Chris Jenkins from the Kennel Club Genetics Centre with Maisie a Hungarian vizsla. ANL-160127-124540001
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A project to create the UK’s largest canine genome bank to help improve pedigree dogs’ health has been launched by the Animal Health Trust.

Give a Dog a Genome aims to sequence the entire genomes of 50 dogs from 50 breeds by the end of 2016, using the latest technology at the trust’s headquarters in Kennett.

The Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT, under Dr Cathryn Mellersh, has pioneered genetic research to understand and eradicate inherited diseases in purebred dogs. Give a Dog a Genome takes this to the next level.

Dr Mellersh said: “The DNA tests we develop from our research are incredibly powerful in helping breeders to better control, and in time, eradicate, inherited diseases.”

The AHT is asking owners, breeders and breed clubs for each breed to raise £1,000, which will be matched by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, to meet the £2,000 required to sequence each genome.

Aimee Llewellyn, head of health and research at the Kennel Club, said: “The Give a Dog a Genome project will have a substantial positive impact on the future health of purebred dogs, and is another example of the pioneering work being carried out by the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust.

“Advances in science such as this one enable dog breeders to make even more informed breeding decisions to ensure they are doing all they can to help eliminate inherited conditions in dogs.”