Science Interviews


Sat, 12th May 2012

Epilepsy in dogs

Nell Barrie

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Genes and evolution - from populations to tumours

Kat - Another story that I noticed involving dogs and their diseases is about epilepsy.  And actually a quite number of different breeds of dogs are affected by epilepsy.  There's that Belgian Shepherd dogs, about 1 and 5 of them, get some type of epilepsy.  And there's some research in Finland of tracking down the gene that might be involved in this.  What have they found here?

Nell -  So they're looking an area of particular chromosome that maybe the key to what's going on in these dogs.  And it's again, it's another funny one where it seems like quite a lot of dogs have this particular area and have mutations in this area of the chromosome.  But they're not all getting epilepsy.  So again, it's kind of, you know, what's happening there? Why is this affecting some dogs and not others?  Can we figure this out?  And could that maybe give us clues for disease in humans as well?

Kat -  Because the thing to point out about dogs is that they're quite highly bred, so they got less genetic variation than humans.  And I noticed as well the research group that has done this, they've been looking all sorts of other dogs as well.  And they have a canine DNA database in Finland.  They've got DNA from 40,000 samples from more than 250 different breeds.  So I think that's quite a useful resource there.



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