In order to find a gene responsible for a disease, we compare the DNA of patients with a genetic condition with samples taken from other patients, as well as with the DNA from healthy animals of the same breed. It is therefore vital that the patients do in fact have the same disease, and that the diagnosis has been determined accurately. To ensure that this is indeed the case, specialists from the University Clinic for Companion Animal Health are always involved in the research.
At least six patients are needed to trace the cause of mono-genetic symptoms - symptoms that are caused by a single mutation in the DNA. An important characteristic of mono-genetic symptoms is that they are often observed in other animals from the same litter. Once the DNA mutation is known, we provide immediate diagnostics to find the carriers of the disease. These animals need not be excluded from breeding programmes, as long as they are not crossed with other carriers.
For more complex symptoms - those caused by multiple mutations in the DNA - groups of at least 50 patients are needed to find the genes involved.
We are always willing to store patients’ DNA for later research if there is a suspicion of a genetic condition, as long as the patient’s symptoms have been evaluated by a specialist from the University Clinic for Companion Animal Health. Please contact the ECGG for more information.