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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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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk