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Database of Dog DNA

A database of dog DNA may help save dog breeds whose numbers are dwindling, Wired UK reports.

For instance, it notes that only 53 Skye terriers were registered in the UK last year, meaning that the gene pool for the dogs is also shrinking. This, Wired UK notes, is especially problematic as the breed is prone to an inherited form of hepatitis. 

However, it reports that the Skye Terrier Club began to build a database of DNA from dogs from that breed in 2006, initially to study a kidney disease the dogs also tend to develop, and is now using that data to study the more pressing hepatitis problem through a genome-wide association study. Animal Health Trust's Cathryn Mellersh tells it that they have homed in on a stretch of DNA they suspect is linked to hepatitis among Skye terriers, though haven't yet found the precise spot.

Genetic testing, Wired UK adds, will also be able to inform dog breeding decisions to more precisely avoid passing disease variants onto the next generation of puppies.