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New DNA tests to help prevent blindness in border collies
"We hope our research will help to reduce the number of dogs that go blind from this disease.”
Genetic mutation found to be responsible for severe gonio 

Scientists have discovered a mutation in the OLFML3 gene which causes sudden blindness in border collies.

The findings have resulted in several companies developing genetic tests for the condition, called goniodysgenesis - or gonio - to avoid affected dogs being used to produce puppies.

In severe gonio, the affected dog’s eyes do not develop properly, which can cause glaucoma, leading to sudden loss of sight. Sudden blindness in border collies was first seen in Australia in the late 90s, then in the UK in relatives of the original dogs. Breeders suspected there may be a genetic cause.

Researchers from the Roslin Institute collected DNA from dog saliva samples and compared those with healthy eyes, to those with symptoms of severe gonio. They found a genetic mutation in OLFML3, which is involved in the early stages of eyeball development.

All dogs who suffered blindness had two copies of the mutation gene. The research paper has been published in the journal G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.

Dr Carys Pugh, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted that our findings have directly led to a genetic test for this condition. We hope our research will help to reduce the number of dogs that go blind from this disease.”

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk