DNA…a whole new world.

DNA testing in dogs is relatively new, and should be a welcome tool to a breeders ‘breeding toolbox’, however for some reason a few have met this tool with resistance.  In my experience the resistance is due to either misinformation about what these results mean for a dogs breeding future and/or a general lack of knowledge of how to use the information gained.

These are only my thoughts on DNA tests/testing and how I choose to use it within my breeding program, my thoughts may not be for everyone and that is ok.  There is no right or wrong way to use these new tools, comfortability will lay different for each breeder and for each person looking for their new puppy.

We, Golden Retriever breeders/fanciers, are lucky with the number of health advancements in our breed.  Not only do we have screening tools for Hip, Elbow, Heart, and Eye abnormalities we also have DNA screening for several issues.  With most of our current DNA tests (which happen to be simple recessive (a recessive gene is an allele that causes a phenotype (visible or detectable characteristic) that is only seen in a homozygous genotype (an organism that has two copies of the same allele) and never in a heterozygous genotype.  If a genetic trait is recessive, a dog needs to inherit two copies of the gene for the trait to be expressed. Thus, both the sire and the dam have to be carriers of a recessive trait in order for offspring to express that trait.), the issues really does become black and white, unlike hip/elbow/eye/heart screening we are no depending on an experts opinion (which can very from expert to expert), we are dealing with something that is not opinion based, DNA is factual based.  Either the dog has a copy(ies) of the gene or they do not.

With information like this we do not have to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’, in other words dogs do not have to be thrown out of the breeding population based on the results of these tests (unlike we seem to do with subjective health tests like hip/heart/elbow/eye clearances).  Clear, Carrier, or Affected, they still have a place within the gene pool.

 

Predicted breeding results when dealing with Simple Recessives
Parent 1
Status
Parent 2
Status
Clear Carrier Affected
Clear All = Clear 1/2 = Clear
1/2 = Carrier
All = Carrier
Carrier 1/2 = Clear
1/2 = Carrier
1/4 = Clear
1/2 = Carrier
1/4 = Affected
1/2 = Carrier
1/2 = Affected
Affected All = Carrier 1/2 = Carrier
1/2 = Affected
All = Affected
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