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Home DNA Testing

News and insights in the world of DNA and genetics for paternity, immigration and forensics

Archive for September, 2009 Monthly Archives

I have seen this more than once now, including as an April Fools Story. Cities creating a database of canine DNA in order to track down owners who fail to clean up after their pets.

Well the story has resurfaced again….

In Dresden, Germany, a citizen commission overwhelmingly recommended a plan where DNA samples would be collected from all dogs when their owners renew their annual canine license. It is projected that within one year, a database of Dresden’s currently registered 12,500 canines would be complete. At that point sanitation workers would begin carrying feces-sample kits and submit evidence to a forensics laboratory, where scientists could easily match the feces to dog. The dog’s owner would be promptly fined up to (the equivalent of) $600 US dollars. Dresden’s commission projects a break-even point after about seven months at which point the city would start to turn a profit.

While in the past I have seen this story surface as a joke it seems that the idea of creating a DNA database to fine errant dog owners seems to be picking up steam and gaining more wide spread support. In the mean time I am going to keep my eyes posted to see how this story unfolds.

By: Briana R.

Just published in April in the Science Express is an amazing article on Ancestry testing. The international research team, led by Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Maryland and the University of Pennsylvania, studied genetic variation among 121 African populations, four African American populations, and 60 non-African populations by collecting DNA from many volunteers and comparing the sequences at various genetic markers around the genome.  This research has lead to some fascinating conclusions.

Sarah Tishkoff and her team of international researchers collected DNA samples from all areas of Africa over the course of many years, creating a large data base of genetic markers.  Looking at this large and varied data base has lead to a new understanding of African Ancestry.  The result of this study shows shared ancestry among geographically diverse hunter-gatherer populations, including pygmies and click-speaking San as well ask click-speaking groups in East Africa.  This shows a wide ranging population migration accost the African Content.  This study shows that the African American population’s ancestry is predominantly from the Niger-Kordofanian population of West Africa (71%) as well as from European (13%) and other African (about 8%) populations.

While this research alone is completely fascinating, the possibilities for further research is wide open.  It has been suggested by scientists that people originated in the African region. Therefore, this study is a gateway to perform comparisons of other races genome to this data base to determine the validity of that suggestion.

For further information please see:

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/0430sp_africa.shtml

The American Kennel Club’s® board and staff have just announced a new Mixed Breed Program. The program is going to be rolled out in three phases.

Effective October 1st, 2009, mixed breed dog owners can list their dogs with the AKC’s new mixed breed program.
1.Dogs in the program will be issued an ID number.
2.Dogs must be spayed or neutered.
3.The fee for the program will be $35.
4.In Phase I, listed dogs will receive:
a.A certificate of participation
b.A competition card, with their identification number. This number allows
mixed breeds to compete in AKC Agility, Rally, and Obedience events
c.Access to a community of dog lovers interested in supporting all things
canine, including the AKC Humane Fund
d.Affiliation with an organization that:
i.Actively supports the right to own and breed dogs responsibly by
fighting anti-ownership legislation at the local, state, and federal level
ii.Donates millions to canine health research, making all dogs healthier in
the long run
iii.Proactively responds to disasters like 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina,
reaching out to all dog owners in need during stressful times

The Listing Service will be enhanced in Phase II. In Phase II, effective July 1, 2010 participating dogs will also receive:
a.Discounted enrollment in the AKC CAR Lost & Found service, which includes
a collar tag and 24-7 recovery services
b.An AKC Supporter window decal
c.Free CGC certificate for dogs that pass a CGC test
d.Copy of The New Puppy Handbook and/or sample of Family Dog magazine
e.Free initial veterinary visit
f.Trial offer of pet health insurance
g.Discount coupons to an online dog store

Effective April 1st, 2010, the competition parameters governing mixed breed participation in AKC Agility, Rally, and Obedience events:
1.AKC clubs will have the option to hold mixed breed classes for Agility,
Obedience, or Rally events. Those clubs electing to hold mixed breed classes
will offer the same classes for mixed breed dogs and purebred dogs.
2.Mixed Breed classes can only be held at standalone AKC Agility, Obedience,
and Rally Events. The class could not be offered at All Breed Shows, Group
Shows, or independent specialties, even if Agility, Obedience, or Rally events
are being held.
a.The definition of standalone AKC Companion event is an AKC Agility,
Obedience, or Rally event that is not held on the same date AND show
site as an AKC all-breed show or independent specialty.
3.Mixed breed dogs will compete in separate class divisions from AKC purebred
dogs.
a.The club is not required to hold the classes in separate rings under
separate Judges. The purebred classes can be held in the same ring,
under the same Judge, as the mixed breed classes. Placements and titles
will be scored and awarded separately.
b.For example, in Agility in the Regular class, all purebred dogs entered in
the Regular 16 inch class will run, followed in the same ring by the mixed
breed dogs entered in the Regular 16 inch class.
4.Allows event-giving club to decide if group exercises in Obedience, specifically
long sits and downs, should be combined to save time or should be completed
separately. The club is not required to hold the classes in separate rings under
separate Judges. Placements and titles will be scored and awarded separately.
5.Mixed breed dogs will earn different titles from purebred dogs.
a.Mixed breed dogs will earn titles with a Mixed Breed suffix (i.e.
NAM-Novice Agility Mixed Breed)
6.Dogs competing in the class will be eligible to earn similar (but separate) titles
as purebreds, including MACH-M (Master Agility Champion Mixed Breed),
OTCH-M, and RAE-M.
7.Dogs competing in classes will NOT be eligible for National Championships or
Invitational events.

The American Kennel Club® decided to include a mixed breed program for some very basic reasons. First to maintain legislative influence, second to bring new people into the The American Kennel Club® family and third to continue funding important outreach programs. This program is in addition to current programs and will not be replacing any pure bread programs currently in place.

For further information please visit the The American Kennel Club’s® web site at:

https://www.akc.org/mixedbreeds/

Oak Harbor Targets Pit Bull Ordinance For Extinction
By JENNY MANNING Whidbey News Times Reporter

Oak Harbor officials will review the city’s breed-specific restrictions thanks to a little noise from Bob Baker and Barbara Moran, the couple who filed suit against Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation late last year to save Smiley, a shelter dog, from euthanasia.

In an email sent to City Administrator Paul Schmidt earlier this month, the couple questioned the city’s breed-specific ordinance and its effect on pit bull adoptions.

“How many people in Oak Harbor will even try to adopt these dogs knowing they have to build them a cage and keep them muzzled?” they wrote.

Baker and Moran’s affection for pit bulls is well known after their fight to save Smiley, though he didn’t turn out to be a pit bull. Smiley made regional headlines after he was dognapped from the animal shelter, and later found on South Whidbey.

Oak Harbor’s breed-specific ordinance went into effect in 2006 and requires pit bull owners who live within city limits to house the controversial canines in a secure pen and muzzle the animals while on leash, among other restrictions.

Owners who don’t follow the ordinance will have their dog impounded and could get slapped with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time up to 90 days, or both.

In addition to the requirements placed on dog owners, the ordinance also requires the animal control officer to be an expert on the animals, Police Chief Rick Wallace said at a public safety standing committee meeting Thursday.

“If there was action taken, he could end up on the stand,” Wallace said, referring to Animal Control Officer Terry Sampson. “It wouldn’t take much of a legal defense to challenge.”

“From an animal control officer’s point of view, this is a really difficult issue,” Wallace said.

The burden would be on the city to prove any delinquent dog’s breed, and that may mean Oak Harbor would have to foot the bill for a doggie DNA test.

From an enforcement point of view, it’s almost impossible, Wallace said, adding that from a practical point of view, there’s not that many bite complaints each year.

“I don’t want this to turn into an emotional thing,” Schmidt said after the meeting. “We’re looking at it strictly as a fact-based issue.”

And the fact is, breed determination can be a tricky and costly business.

“Our own insurance doesn’t recommend BSL,” Schmidt said, referring to breed-specific legislation. “We support the behavior-based approach.”

The public safety standing committee will likely forward a recommendation to the council to do away with Ordinance 1479, also known as the breed-specific ordinance.