Genetic diseases

Science links variations in the DNA to certain diseases. By mapping the differences between the DNA of healthy animals and animals that either carry or suffer from a certain genetic disease, it can be determined in which gene and at what position in the gene a mutation has occurred that causes the genetic disease. By comparing the symptoms of a disease with variation in DNA, a reliable diagnostic test can be validated. This generally results in publication of an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. These articles are often based on a single breed.
The availability of DNA tests to find out whether an animal carries or suffers from a genetic diseases enables breeders to use this knowledge when choosing a breeding partner for their animal(s). This can prevent the birth of offspring that suffer from a genetic disease and it may improve animal welfare.

If a DNA test result indicates that an animal is affected (two copies of the mutation), this fact is generally the basis for assuming that the animal will develop the genetic disease. If a DNA test result indicates that an animal is no carrier of the mutation that causes the relevant disease, it is not a guarantee that that animal will never develop the genetic disease in question; specifically, mutations that cause the same symptoms could occur in other locations in the animal’s DNA.

Mutations that have been described and validated in one breed can also be present in other breeds. Very often, that fact is not published in additional scientific articles. The presence of these mutations in other breeds is determined by service laboratories that perform the DNA-tests. Determining how reliable a certain DNA-test is for a certain breed is no easy task. On our website, we indicate that a test is suited for a particular breed only if it is published or because it has been determined by a service laboratory. It is up to the owner to decide whether he or she would like to have a test performed based on the criteria set out above.