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Scientists ID gene mutation responsible for blue eyes
The genetic variant discovered by Embark is particularly prevalent in Siberian huskies.
Genetic variant is particularly prevalent in Siberian huskies 

Scientists have identified the genetic mutation that is responsible for blue eyes in dogs.

In the largest study of its kind, DNA company Embark gathered data from 6,000 dogs. Owners carried out at-home DNA tests and completed online surveys about their dog’s appearance and health.

Blue eyes appear most often in Siberian huskies but the trait also applies to breeds such as the Australian shepherd and many mixed breed dogs.

The genetic variant discovered by Embark is particularly prevalent in Siberian huskies and scientists say it explains nearly all occurrences of blue eyes and heterochromia (multi-coloured eyes) in the breed.

Embark CEO and founder Ryan Boyko said: “Making this discovery marks an enormous milestone in the capabilities of crowdsourced genetic research in animals besides humans. By working with our own customers’ pets, we have successfully identified the genetic marker for a key canine trait.

“We are just touching the tip of the iceberg in genetic discoveries in our canine companions. In analysing crowdsourced data, we will continue to make discoveries that teach us more about the biology of canines in the hopes that someday we will end preventable disease in man’s best friend.” 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.