News Canine Genetics Data Saved

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Canine genetics data saved
29th July 2020

By Justine Thompson

The Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust (AHT) have issued a joint statement to advise that more than 40,000 canine DNA samples and associated scientific data stored at the AHT have been secured and moved to Cambridge University.

This comes in the wake of news this month of the forthcoming closure of the AHT in Newmarket, including the Kennel Club Genetics Centre.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has funded the Genetics Centre since 2009. Led by Dr Cathryn Mellersh, the centre aimed to develop simple mouth swab screening tests to determine affected and carrier dogs. In deciding which diseases to investigate, the joint Kennel Club and AHT team was looking at the impact on the health and welfare of dogs, but also on the support of breeders and access to data and samples.

Bill King, chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: “The Kennel Club and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust have long supported and worked together with the AHT to improve dog health, so it is a very positive development that the Kennel Club’s considerable investment in this area has been saved in spite of a few weeks of uncertainty.”

Dr Cathryn Mellersh said: “The Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT was founded to accelerate research into inherited canine disease. Since the Genetics Centre was founded in 2009, by collaborating closely with dog breeders and veterinary surgeons we have developed DNA tests for 22 different inherited diseases that benefit around 50 different breeds of dog.
 
“We know that breeders make good use of DNA tests to reduce the frequency of these mutations and thus improve the genetic health of countless dogs. There is no reason why this ethos should change now that the information is stored in Cambridge and the Kennel Club Genetics Centre staff are relieved and grateful that all this information and resources have been saved.”