Thursday, May 7, 2015

Strategies on DNA Tests

Created by The Scientific Commission of NKU (Nordic Kennel Union) and fully supported by The FCI Breeding Commission

The Scientific Commission of NKU (Nordic Kennel Union) has worked out a strategy on
DNA-tests in dog breeding, approved by the commission meeting in Iceland November
The availability of genetic tests for different diseases in dogs has increased dramatically in
recent years. For breeders and dog owners, the utility and accuracy of these tests are
often difficult to assess. Even though DNA tests offer new opportunities as a tool for
breeding, they also imply new questions and challenges. The fact that a genetic test is
available for a disease in a breed does not automatically mean that the test is accurate or
appropriate to use as basis for breeding decisions. The Scientific Committee of the Nordic
Kennel Union (NKU/VK) would like to stress that genetic testing in dogs should be used
with common sense and caution. The points described in the document should serve as
guidelines for breeders and dog owners regarding the use of genetic tests.
Astrid Indrebø gave a presentation of the document, which was sent out with the agenda.
FCI Breeding Commission – Minutes from the meeting in Dortmund, February 13th 2015 6
BC discussion:
BC was happy with the presentation; the information given in the document is of great
Updating from the delegates:
Belgium informed that the Flemish government have mandatory DNA-testing of a list of
Netherlands informed that they are not allowed to breed with unhealthy dogs, an animal
rights group have said that French bulldog is not healthy – court case? The outcome of
this case is very important, for if this goes through, other breeds will follow.
Switzerland: The government has made a decision not to ban any breeds. All breeders of
dogs, which includes both pedigree dogs and mixed breeds, is responsible for their
breeding. They have to be able to document their dogs and their offspring, and prove that
they do what they can to avoid and reduce problems.
The kennel clubs all agreed that we only should breed healthy dogs, however it is our
responsibility to marked that one should focus on unhealthy dogs, not unhealthy breeds.
The national kennel clubs must take action.
An international statement should be made, which the national kennel clubs can show to
the Governments and others that we are working on an international basis.
We have different breeds for different functions “Dogs fit for original function” –
functional in modern society.
It should be focused on all dogs, not only pedigree dogs.
FCI Breeding Commission – Minutes from the meeting in Dortmund, February 13th 2015 7
BC decision:
The president will make a proposal for a statement, based on the NKU-document. The
statement will be sent to the delegates after the meeting. The delegates are asked to use
these statements in their own kennel club/breed clubs regarding the use of genetic tests in
dog breeding. The statements should also be available on the FCI web-site.
Statement (made by the president after the meeting and sent to the delegates for
approval. The statements were approved):
The FCI Breeding Commission fully support the document made by the NKU Scientific
Commission (NKU/VK) regarding the use of genetic tests in dog breeding.
We want to highlight the following statements from the NKU/VK-document, and
encourage the kennel clubs and breed clubs to make it available to all dog owners:
1. The genetic testing in dogs should be used with common sense and caution.
2. A dog showing clinical symptoms of a serious disease should not be used for breeding
– regardless of genetic test results.
3. There is a need for further efforts from the international dog community to support
dog breeders and owners with respect to validation and guidance on the use of
genetic tests.
4. The FCI Breeding Commission advice against the use of genetic tests for conditions
where the inheritance is unclear.
Tests for diseases that are influenced by many genes should be applied only in cases
where evidence based on scientific publications has established that the mutation(s)
cause a significant and defined risk of disease, and provided that the disease is of
clinical relevance in the breed concerned.
5. The FCI Breeding Commission are reluctant to promote the use of multi-tests and
combination test packages currently available.
This position is based on shortcomings in validation and/or relevance for some of the
mutations in the package as well as the potential negative consequences on the
overall breeding goal that uncritical use of genetic tests are likely to cause.
Instead, it should be recommended to the breeders and dog owners to test for the
specific mutation(s) that are relevant in the current breed, provided that these tests
are validated.
6. The FCI Breeding Commission would like to emphasize the importance of breeders
and/or dog owners carefully evaluating the usefulness and accuracy of a genetic test
before it is performed. Only use the tests that are properly evaluated and for
conditions of clinical relevance in the breed.
No dog, or any other living creatures, are completely free of disease mutations.
Uncritical use of DNA tests may in the worst case result in negative effects on the
breed’s health and gene pool.
Please contact your breed club or kennel club for more information if you are doubtful.
7. General statement
The FCI breeding commission fully supports the following statements from the
Scientific Commission of the Nordic Kennel Union, concerning the general policy
regarding the application of genetic tests in dog breeding.
a. Genetic testing are excellent tool in breeding for improved health provided that
the tests are reliable, relevant and used wisely.
FCI Breeding Commission – Minutes from the meeting in Dortmund, February 13th 2015 8
b. Breeders and dog owners should carefully evaluate the benefits and
consequences of a genetic test before it is applied.
c. A one-side or exaggerated focus on DNA test results may result in an increase
risk that other important conditions or characteristics are overlooked.
d. We would like to emphasize that the breeding program should be based on the
prevalence and severity of various health issues rather than on the availability
of genetic tests.
e. If a disease does not constitute a clinical problem in the breed and/or the
genetic test is not validated or accurate, it is better to refrain from the testing
of the dog.
Otherwise, there is a risk of excluding potential breeding animals and
decreasing the genetic variation, based on uncertain or false grounds.
f. Keep in mind that dog breeding is about more than specific diseases and
genetic tests that even though they are many they do not give the entire