8 Dog Breeds With The Most Disease-Causing Genetic Variants
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The dog breeds most likely to carry disease-causing genetic mutations have been revealed, with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels unfortunately taking the top spot.
Unfortunately, according to a new study from Uppsala University in Sweden, the small lap dogs are negatively influenced by years of inbreeding and are now at higher risk of heart disease. In fact, scientists found that the breed has genetic variants associated with mitral myxomatous valve disease (MMVD) – the most common acquired heart disease in small breed dogs.
Erik Axelsson, who published the results in PLOS Genetics magazine, said years of breeding resulted in many dogs inheriting genetic diseases.
“We find that individuals of the breed affected by the most intensive breeding – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (cKCs) – carry more harmful variants than other breeds,” he said in the paper. “[This indicates] that previous breeding practices may have increased the overall level of harmful genetic variation in dogs. “
Beagles made the list too
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As part of the research, the team sequenced entire genomes from 20 dogs from eight common breeds. While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was found to carry more harmful genetic variants than others, scientists discovered that standard poodles also carry harmful genetic variants than the others.
Golden retrievers are also at risk
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“Especially in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, one or more of these mutations affect the heart muscle protein NEBL and can make this breed susceptible to devastating heart disease,” adds Erik.
Take a look at the following breeds that are now at risk of disease-causing genetic mutations:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- German shepherd dog
- Golden retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Standard poodle
- West Highland White Terrier
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