The Golden Retriever Club of America is pleased to announce that Golden Retrievers are the pilot breed currently eligible for participation in a new DNA database. The mapping of the canine genome is expected to have a significant impact on research activities regarding canine genetic disease, and thus there is growing interest among breed clubs and breeders to establish a DNA bank to facilitate research and future disease testing on individual dogs. In response to this evolving need, CHIC ( Canine Health Information Center), the Canine Health Foundation, and OFA have established a DNA bank and database designed to serve both breeders and researchers.
This DNA database will serve the canine research community by providing researchers with optimized family groups needed for specific research studies, and will facilitate more rapid progress in research by expediting the sample collection process. It will also allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA-based disease tests as they become available, with the ability to test both current breeding dogs, and important dogs of the past whose DNA is stored in the bank. Researchers funded by such organizations as the Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation can apply to use this DNA for specific studies; and owners will have access to their dog's DNA for DNA-based disease testing.
DNA databases are most useful when the DNA is linked to both a health history (including but not limited to phenotypic health “clearances”), and to a pedigree. This provides researchers with the ability to select the samples that are of interest to particular studies, by searching the database for dogs that meet specific eligibility criteria. However, all individual dogs, pedigrees, and owners will be coded for anonymity, which can be waived only by the owner. Privacy will be carefully protected according to the instructions of the owner. The owner will also be provided with an individual access code which will permit him or her to update the health history over the lifetime of the dog, since many health conditions of interest may not have developed at the time the dog was entered into the database.
DNA can be collected through either a blood sample, or by using buccal (cheek) swabs. Blood samples provide an almost unlimited supply of DNA, while buccal swabs provide adequate DNA for a number of health studies and testing, although significantly less than blood samples.
As part of GRCA's participation as the pilot breed, CHIC/OFA sent a representative to the 2005 National Specialty to assist with enrolling as many Goldens as possible into the database, which was done at no charge to the owner or GRCA. Many volunteers assisted with drawing the blood and paperwork, and we are thrilled to announce that over 600 Goldens were enrolled at the National! Participants in the DNA Bank are on the cutting edge of genetic research, and we sincerely thank each and every owner and dog.
But, we don't want to see this enthusiasm and support stop. Many representatives of local Clubs inquired about having their own DNA blood draw, possibly in conjunction with a Specialty, other dog event, or as a stand alone project. We strongly encourage member Clubs to plan local DNA blood draws, and to make a special effort to include Veteran dogs. Arrangements can be made through Eddie Dzuik at firstname.lastname@example.org Dogs can also be included on an individual basis, again through contacting Eddie, though we hope to have a link soon on the GRCA website with enrollment information. In the future, costs will be $10 using buccal swabs (making it affordable to have entire litters swabbed prior to sending them to new homes), and $25 for blood samples. For a limited period of time, there may be some reduction in these fees, so please don't wait to make plans for blood draws.
Your participation in this important database will assist health research for decades to come, and we urge everyone to enroll as many dogs as possible to show your support for a healthier future for Golden Retrievers.
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