Give a Dog a Genome

Give a Dog a Genome

We are currently looking for Giant Schnauzers affected with Idiopathic Epilepsy to take part in the Give A Dog a Genome project.

If anyone owns an affected dog please complete our online study, which will provide us with more information about seizures in the breed, and will also identify any dogs that may fulfill the criteria for inclusion in the project.

About the GDG Project

Give A Dog A Genome is a new initiative from the Animal Health Trust (AHT) to improve dog health. The AHT aim to sequence the entire genomes (all 2.4 billion letters of DNA) of at least 75 different dog breeds. The information will have profound effects on the ability to identify mutations which cause inherited diseases in purebred dogs, and the rate at which new DNA tests can be developed as tools for breeders. It costs around £2,000 to sequence the entire genome of an individual dog, and the AHT is fortunate enough to have received £50,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KCCT) for this purpose. The AHT invited all breeds to get involved in the project to collectively match the KCCT funding with £1,000 towards sequencing the genome of an individual dog of each breed. The breed clubs representing all 3 size Schnauzers, along with the GSHF, all agreed to put the ‘Schnauzer breed’ forward for genome sequencing.

75 breeds that expressed a desire to take part presented £1,000 to the AHT for their breed including the Giant Schnauzer. The AHT, in conjunction with breed clubs, will select a number of candidate dogs in a breed, with DNA collected via mouth swabs and one sample being chosen by the AHT for genome sequencing. This final selection is normally determined by the quality of the DNA sample, and the AHT are keen to make this as anonymous as possible. Ideally, candidate dog(s) should be ‘affected’ with a known hereditary condition but one for which the marker is unknown (thus a DNA test not yet available). Once the genome of all 75 selected dogs (breeds) has been sequenced, they will be used as comparisons in future research projects by the AHT, who will make the database available to other research bodies throughout the world. The process for a genome sequence takes approximately 1 week, so this project won’t be complete for at least a year or possibly longer. Continual feedback will be part of the project but CM (& AHT) urges caution in respect of the project being able, in itself, to identify a marker mutation for any particular condition.

CM confirmed that the joint KC/AHT initiative will be restricted to 75 ‘distinct’ breeds (one from the Dachshunds; Rough & Smooth Collie; Schnauzer family, etc.). If the other varieties or size wished to be sequenced then the total cost (£2,000 per dog) would have to be funded by that breed. The choice between Giant and Schnauzer (known by some as the ‘Standard’!) was discussed at the AHT’s seminar. The Giant has a recognised hereditary condition (HC) without a DNA test: the Schnauzer has Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and a DNA test exists, but no other ‘identified’ hereditary condition. After the Schnauzer breed clubs put forward three main health concerns within the breed, given the choices, for the current project, the AHT decided that they would prefer the DNA of Giant affected with Idiopathic Epilepsy, although would be equally keen to proceed with the Schnauzer if the breed could fund the whole cost of its GS. Therefore we are looking for Giant Schnauzers affected with Idiopathic Epilepsy, where the first seizures occured over the age of 6 months and upto the age of 6 years.

All UK Giant clubs, backed by the Giant Schnauzer Health Fund, fully support this project and presented £1,000 to the AHT at Crufts on 12 March 2016 for genome sequencing of the Giant Schnauzer.

Give a Dog a Genome


More information about the Give a Dog a Genome initiative can be found on the AHT website

Comments are closed.