give a dog a genome
Welcome to Give a Dog a Genome, an initiative launched by the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT to create the UK’s largest canine genome bank to help generations of dogs.
This genome bank will improve dog health by radically increasing our understanding of the canine genome by sequencing the entire genome (all 2.4 billion letters of DNA) of a large number of different breeds.
What is Give a Dog a Genome?
Every genome we sequence is a permanent resource which will contribute towards our research for many years to come, to the benefit of all breeds – not just those we can sequence now.
Give a Dog a Genome launched in January 2016 with the aim of sequencing DNA from 50 different breeds of dog. The response from so many breeds interested in GDG was so overwhelming that in May 2016, with further funding granted from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, we were delighted to extend the initiative to an additional 25 breeds.
Click here to see the 75 breeds that will have a dog's genome sequenced and included in the canine genome bank.
By undertaking this colossal task - DNA is a string of A, C, G & Ts…if each was 1mm long the whole genome of each dog we sequence would stretch from Lands End to John O’Groats and back again! - we will enhance our understanding of which changes in DNA sequence have an effect on dog health and which changes are benign or neutral.
This information will have profound effects on our ability to identify mutations which cause inherited diseases in purebred dogs, and the rate at which we can develop new DNA tests as tools for breeders. Give a Dog a Genome will revolutionise canine genetics research and is therefore a hugely important project to the future of dog health.
Whilst the expansion of GDG to 75 breeds has had an impact on our originally planned timeline for the project, a lot of activity has been going on behind the scenes!
A total of 86 dogs from 77* breeds will be sequenced as part of GDG.
We asked each breed to complete a small health survey, indicating three health disorders that are currently of concern among the breed community.
- Health forms have been returned by 75 breeds.
- 90 disorders in total have been listed.
- We have assessed 58/75 health forms so far, collating the information from the health forms and determining which dogs we wish to sequence for each breed. This process has taken longer than we anticipated and we are grateful for the continued patience of all breeds, particularly the breeds for which we have yet to assess the health forms.
To keep up the momentum, in addition to assessing the health forms we have also been requesting and processing DNA samples, and sending suitable DNA for whole genome sequencing.
- We have sent off a total of 28 samples from 25 breeds for sequencing.
- These samples encompass a variety of conditions: Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), Hereditary Cataracts, Dilated Cardio Myopathy, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Ocular Melanosis, Ectopic Ureter, Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease, Mast Cell Tumours, Osteosarcoma and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, as well as a number of older, healthy controls.
* A further two genomes, from two additional breeds, will be sequenced alongside the 75 target breeds as individual funding was put forward before the project was officially capped for 2017.
What happens next?
We will continue to collate information from all the participating breeds and to decide if it will be more valuable to sequence a dog that is either affected with an inherited disorder of concern to the breed or an older, healthy dog, on a breed by breed basis. The final choice of dogs whose genomes are sequenced will be made by the Animal Health Trust and the identity of all dogs will be kept confidential.
The DNA we collect is sent to a commercial sequencing laboratory to be whole genome sequenced. Upon completion the sequencing data is made available to us to download, process and analyse.
The volume of data generated for each individual sample is extremely large and takes three - four days to download and process, and the analysis will take far longer than that. It is impossible to predict what we will find or how long it will take, but if we find anything relevant we will contact the BHC for the breed in question.
As we continue the exciting process of selecting dogs for sequencing, any additional breeds wishing to participate in Give a Dog a Genome will be entered into the second phase of the project, GDG2, that is expected to begin during 2018 (subject to funding).
Breeds that are entered into GDG2 will not be asked to make their £1,000 donation until 2018.
BREEDS BACKING GIVE A DOG A GENOME
WHAT IS WHOLE GENOME SEQUENCING?
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT GIVE A DOG A GENOME
GIVE A DOG A GENOME - FAQs
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