The GPRA-project February 2014
Status from the GPRA-project, February 2014.
During 2013 the project team has made progress. Caroline (researcher) and the rest of the project team made important breakthrough in research during the first half year of 2013. Through close cooperation with experienced eye specialists in Norway and Sweden, we did extensive genetic analyzes both for the PRA-cases and the Retinopathy dogs. The challenge of the research has partly been linked to a difficult diagnosis. This time, nature has provided an eye disease that requires special knowledge to confirm good diagnoses.
As mentioned in the annual report for 2012 we found at the end of 2012, an area of chromosomes that could be associated with the disease. We became quite confident that this region contained genes that could have the mutations we were looking for, the mutations who caused the disease.
In the summer of 2013, we confirmed our suspicion. Detailed genetic analysis and comparison of diseased and healthy dogs showed that a special mutation could explain most PRA cases. The next phase was to document the findings by testing a variety of dogs and work with the development of a certain genetic test. But in dealing with the explanation of the nature and cause of the PRA, the project itself was taken by nature, and Caroline went on maternity leave in June 2013. She is back in April, and the goal is to make a genetic test finished, that can be offered to Sheltie owners during the summer of 2014.
This has taken considerably more time than someone in the project team had expected, and there have been many challenges along the way. Fortunately, there has been a relatively low number of sick dogs in recent years, but it has also led to the availability of PRA-positive samples also has been less. Although the road has been long, it is nice to give signals that the project goal is approaching. In this context it is important to remember that without a positive attitude from the Sheltie owners and the Norwegian Shetland Sheepdog Club with important financial contribution to keep the project going, and also to all who contributed with blood tests - without this, we had no opportunities to get where we are today.
The research for Retinopathy, which is a different gene, will be continued.
The Norwegian Shetland Sheepdog Club's GPRA-Committee
Account number to the GPRA-project in Norway:
Address for bank transfer from abroad:
The PRA-Project, Norsk Shetland Sheepdog Club
Den Norske Bank, Farmannsgaten 2, N-1600 Fredrikstad, Norway
Account number: 5010.05.65517 - Swift-address: DNB ANO KK FRE
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