The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) of the University of California, Davis, in collaboration with Dr Niels C. Pedersen, has started the research phase to develop a canine genetic diversity test for Akitas.
Genetic diversity project update
At the moment, our purpose is to collect samples from Japanese Akitas in Europe and other places to see how much genetic diversity they have. This test panel will also give information about genetic diversity of the major histocompatibility system (DLA) in these Akita lines.
The genetic test
A genetic diversity test is already available for Italian Greyhounds and Standard Poodles. The test for Akitas will be similar. It will include a panel of short tandem repeat (STR) markers that will tell us the genetic diversity across the Akita genome. It will also show what different haplotypes Akitas have in the DLA (Dog Leukocyte Antigen) class I and class II regions, which include several different genes responsible for the immune system.
Useful test for breeders regarding health issues
This test will be very useful to breeders who want to track and increase genetic diversity in Akitas. The biggest health issues in Akitas are the autoimmune diseases, and the only way now to fight these issues is to increase genetic diversity in the breed and especially to add diversity in the DLA regions to improve immune function. There are no current genetic tests for autoimmune diseases in Akitas.
How to participate; the mission
The mission in Europe is to collect samples from different Japanese Akita lines. We are currently compiling a list of dogs and their owners who would like to take part in developing this test. In this phase of research, the test will not cost anything to the owner of the dog, and the owner will get their dog’s test results as a certificate (see Poodle certificate in link below) for their own use. We hope to identify by the end of August about 50 Japanese Akitas from different lines in different countries in Europe to take part in this first research phase. Owners of the selected dogs will be sent a test kit with cheek swabs. If your dog is not chosen for this phase, you’ll be notified by e-mail or letter.
Dr. Pedersen has been doing research on autoimmune diseases in dogsfor many years. To help with his ongoing research, we are also collecting samples from Akitas who suffer autoimmune diseases. The main focus will be on collecting samples from SA (Sebaceous adenitis) and VKH (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada) dogs.
We realize that finding entirely different Japanese Akita lines is almost impossible. We will instead focus on collecting dogs that do not have the same close relatives. When dogs are chosen forthe diversity test research phase, we will use the EVA program (see reference below) as a tool to calculate relationships between the dogs.
How to participate
If you want to take part with your dog, please answer the following questions and send them by email to Saija Tenhunen. Send your information before the end of August 2015.
- Name of the dog
- Name of the owner
- Link to dogs pedigree or copy of the pedigree
- Is your dog diagnosed with autoimmune disease?
The information obtained from the research phase of the Genetic Diversity Test may be shared with research collaborators outside of the University. If you wish to submit samples for confidential testing for a fee, please wait until the research phases are complete.
For more information
Standard Poodles test
Italian Greyhound test
Alaskan Klee Kai test what is in second research phase
And how enrolling a breed works