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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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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”