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Give A Dog A Genome


Update on Give a Dog a Genome and appeal for further funds.

This is a project of the Animal Health Trust, whereby 75 breeds will have the genome of one dog sequenced for half the normal cost, with the other half met by the AHT, aided by a KCCT grant. I put forward dobermanns for inclusion and the £1000 needed was guaranteed by UKDP. I also proposed sequencing a second dog, so that we would have one dog with confirmed DCM and another mature dog without signs of DCM. The second dog would obviously need to be followed to establish whether it developed DCM later. We need to raise £2000 for the second dog, making a total of £3000 needed. To date, £1400 has been raised, with £900 from the UKDP clubs (Dobermann Club, NECDS, SDC and WDC), £100 each from the SWDC, NEDC, Midland Dobermann Club and BDDC, plus £100 donated by a person rehoming one of my dogs.

Discussions have taken place between the AHT, Dr Jo Dukes-McEwan, Tosso Leeb (Bern, Switzerland) and myself as to whether it is better to select two affected dobes and use the non-DCM breeds as a control, but the conclusion is that one affected and one unaffected dog would be the best selection. I asked whether we could be certain that there is no genetic difference between CHF and arrhythmia. The answer is that we do not know, but that there is likely to be broad commonality. My suggestion is that the person supplying the unaffected dog has to agree to a post-mortem to establish whether there was any sign of DCM and that we raise additional funds to cover the cost of this. This is because a dog can only be assumed to be unaffected by the DCM gene. Even if it dies of something else at an advanced age, it does not mean it would not have eventually developed DCM, but we need to be as sure as we can be.

Once we have the genomes, further funds may well need to be raised to pay for the analysis to identify that genes in the affected dog that differ from those in the unaffected dog, and then to identify (if this is at all possible) which are the key ones.

For the moment, then, we are looking to raise an additional £1600. If any of the breed clubs, or indeed any individual breeders or owners, would like to contribute to this, could you please contact me on, which is also the PayPal account for donations to go to. Please support this important initiative.

Sue Thorn, December 2016

(Club Addition: Further information on this project can be found here:

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