Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.

Your data on MRCVSonline

Your privacy

The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

Google Analytics (Performance)

MRCVSonline uses Google Analytics to track which articles/features are most popular, so we can focus on these areas to improve the user experience.

Google analytics places four cookies on your browser (_utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz).

Google's cookie policy can be found here.

If you allow Google Analytics MRCVSonline will place a cookie named 'allowAnalytics'.
The 'allowAnalytics' cookie only contains the value 'YES' and will expire every 365 days.
The cookie will be forced to expire if you disable Google Analytics.
Allow Google Analytics Off

MRCVS user - (Strictly necessary)

The 'MRCVSuser' cookie is used to determine if you have logged into the website.

Logging into the website allows certain privileged features, for example, single click recording of CPD time. This cookie is destroyed each time you close your browser.

Preferences - (Strictly necessary)

The 'savedDataPreferences' cookie is set once you click 'Accept All', 'Reject Non Essential' or 'Save & Exit'.

The 'savedDataPreferences' cookie is only used to prevent you from being asked about your data preferences every time you visit a page.

The cookie will only contain the value 'YES' and will expire every 365 days.

iPad app - (Functionality)

If the website is viewed on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the user will be offered the functionality of the iOS application that we have developed.

If the user would like to view the website instead, a cookie will be placed with the value='1' with a month expiry date.
This will be used to check if the user would prefer to visit the website instead.

Third Party

To support our journalism, MRCVSonline will, from time to time, link YouTube videos, as well as use social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

MRCVSonline cannot control these cookies from outside sources and we advise you to check with the relevant third party for more information..
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Dogs have hidden coat colours
The chocolate Labrador (left) is an example of the expression of a 'fault' allele that is 'permitted' by the breed association
Research reveals hidden gene variants

A study from Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, published in PLOS ONE, shows that some breeds of dog have hidden coat colors – and in some cases, other genetic traits – that are not commonly expressed.

Led by Kari Ekenstedt, assistant professor of anatomy and genetics, and lead scientist, Dayna Dreger, the team looked at a dozen different genes in 212 dog breeds. Purdue researchers, together with industry partners at Wisdom Health, analysed data that had been initially collected for the development of canine DNA tests.

“These are purebred dogs with traits that their breed clubs say they’re not supposed to have,” said Professor Ekenstedt, whose research programme focuses on canine genetics. “The message of this paper is, ‘Hey, these gene variants exist in your breed, and if a few dogs are born with these traits, it’s not caused by accidental breeding and it’s not a mutt; it’s a purebred showing this known genetic potential!’”

Along with analysing the data, researchers used standard breed descriptions from major American and international dog breed registries to determine coat colours and tail lengths that were accepted within each breed. According to the scientists, there was a great deal of unexpected information. “When it comes to different dog breeds, their standards are mostly based on preference and aesthetics,” said Dr Dreger. “We make assumptions for certain breeds based on what we expect their coat colours to be.”

Coat colour genes have a significant amount of epistasis between them, meaning that what happens at one gene can mask what’s happening at another gene. Because of epistasis, it’s rare to see those masked genes actually expressed in a dog’s coat colour.

One example of a ‘fault’ allele – a gene variant that would cause a trait that is not allowed in a breed standard – is an allele that causes the brown colour, which affects both hair pigment and skin pigment. The colour is allowed in breeds such as the Labrador retriever, where it causes the chocolate colour. However, researchers observed that in breeds where brown is not allowed, such as the Rottweiler and the German shepherd dog, brown alleles exist at low frequencies.

Another example of a fault allele is in the Weimaraner, which exists in both long-haired and short-haired varieties. At least one dog breed organisation does not allow long-haired Weimaraners, while several others do.  Of the Weimaraners sampled in this data, the long-haired allele is present at a four per cent frequency. 

The same goes for other traits too. For example, there are around 18 recognised breeds of dogs that have the genetic potential to be born without a tail – such as the popular Australian shepherd dog. But the data show that up to 48 of the breeds analysed possess the tailless gene variant, usually at a very low frequency. One of those breeds is the Dachshund! “A breeder would certainly be surprised to see a Dachshund born without a tail,” Dreger said. “The chances are low, but our research shows that the potential is there.”

Both Dreger and Ekenstedt hope the research prompts some discussions within the dog community. “I want this to start science-based conversations,” Dreger said. “We’re not here to make decisions on what a breed should or shouldn’t look like or what a breed club should do. We’re here to say these are the facts, and these are the gene variants that naturally exist in these breeds.”

“There’s an assumption that the standards for these different breeds of dogs are set in stone,” Dreger said. “People will often make assumptions that if it doesn’t match this, it’s not purebred. These data show that there is a wealth of variation and the standards are not as concrete as we expect them to be.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

VetCT app offered to students and new graduates

News Story 1
 The VetCT app is being offered for free to students and new veterinary graduates for their first three months in practice. The app provides a service for vets to send case information to a global team of Diploma-holding specialists, who can provide advice and support via instant call-back, text chat, written report, or virtual appointment.

Time on the app is automatically logged as CPD with quarterly certificates being generated for users. Additional services include the ability to book bespoke CPD, significant event reviews, and live training sessions such as surgical procedures.

The app is downloadable for both iOS and Android systems. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
HORIBA to host CPD webinar

HORIBA has announced that it will host an online CPD meeting focusing on 'Exotic Parasites - The Importance of Testing in The Imported Dog'. Ian Wright (BVMS, MSc, MRCVS), head of ESCCAP UK and Ireland, will present on the importance of testing protocols in diseases of imported dogs.

The meeting will provide attendees with an overview of emerging veterinary diseases with a particular focus on exotic parasites, and discuss the importance of accurate testing protocols and equipment, alongside a final Q&A session.

The webinar will take place on Thursday July 1, from 19.30pm to 21.00pm BST. For free registration and more information visit the Horiba website or register.gotowebinar.com