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Initial results from our AHT IVDD genetics project

posted 12 Feb 2015, 12:50 by Ian Seath   [ updated 27 Dec 2015, 07:26 ]
We finally have the initial AHT results of their investigation of Chromosome 12. Unfortunately, they have not been able to find a correlation between the Chromosome 12 region identified by Danish researchers and our "herniated" cases vs Controls.

Clearly, it's a disappointing result for us, but we always knew there were risks because we were testing a slightly different hypothesis to the Danes.

Cathryn Mellersh (Head of Molecular Genetics, AHT) said "We think one likely explanation is that herniation is more complex than calcification, in that calcification is a risk factor, but on top of that there are additional risk factors, which may be genetic and/or environmental. Because our cases were dogs with herniated discs (as opposed to calcified discs specifically) they represented a mixture of all the risk factors, and this meant we weren't able to detect an association with the markers on chromosome 12."

"Moving forward we think the most appropriate next step is to undertake a genome-wide scan that will involve typing a set of cases and controls for around 200,000 markers spanning the dogs’ DNA to try to identify a region of the canine DNA associated with IVDD. For this genome scan we need to ensure that we have a robust set of cases, so we will work with a neurologist to review cases to create a tight case definition, as we have previously done for complex conditions in the dog, such as epilepsy."

We all know that IVDD has a high heritability, so we agree with Cathryn Mellersh's recommendation that further work would be worthwhile. This issue is far too important for the breed's health for us not to explore it further using the technology available. Lots of people will be disappointed but, as Einstein said "if we knew the answers, it wouldn't be called research, would it?".

Thank you to all the Dachshund owners who contributed DNA swabs for this initial research and also to those who have helped raise funds to pay for this work.

Read an up-to-date summary of our IVDD research here.