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Don’t dismiss pet genomics — tests help breeders

AgroParisTech, Paris, France.
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International Partnership for Dogs, Sollentuna, Sweden

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Finnish Kennel Club, Espoo, Finland.

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Genomics testing offers benefits for pets beyond health improvements (see L. Moses et al. Nature 559, 470–472; 2018). It can help breeders to maintain genetic diversity in populations, for example, by probing ancestry or exposing undesirable recessive traits.

The non-profit initiative Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs, developed by the International Partnership for Dogs, now lists around 70 commercial test providers worldwide on its portal. There, users can find details about companies’ quality measures and genetic counselling services, for instance (see go.nature.com/2xsgtnd).

Breeding organizations run genomic-selection programmes for a variety of complex traits in livestock. For example, it is possible to select for lower methane emissions and for improved adaptation capabilities (B. J. Hayes et al. Trends Genet. 29, 206–214; 2013).

With careful attention to appropriate markers, phenotype characterization, statistical computation and definition of reference populations, genetic testing can guide breeding decisions and strengthen populations (see go.nature.com/2lweoak).

Nature 562, 39 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-06891-3
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