Epilepsy gene discovery in dogs

The journal PLoS ONE has published research this week by Professor Hannes Lohi of the University of Helsinki.  Professor Lohi and his research team have isolated a gene linked to epilepsy in Belgian Shepherds.

The gene is found on canine chromosome 37.  The research team isolated the gene by comparing the genome of dogs with epilepsy against those of dogs that were in a healthy control group.  The gene could increase the risk of epilepsy by a factor of 7.

Genetic epilepsy is also referred to as ‘idiopathic epilepsy.’  A co-author on the article has said that as many as 20% of the Belgian Shepherd breed is estimated to have epilepsy and so the research could underpin the development of a genetic test for the disease.

Seizures can result in abnormal movements, usually on one side of the body, followed by cramping in the limbs.  Drooling and vomiting are other symptoms.

This research group is responsible for other genetic discoveries in dogs.  Through their research, the group has developed a canine DNA bank in Finland containing 40,000 samples from 250 different breeds of dogs.  They have previously identified the epilepsy gene EPM2B in Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds and a gene LGI2 in Lagotto Romagnolos and collaborated with other researchers in the discovery of an epilepsy gene in Tibetan Terriers.

Source:  Helsingin yliopisto (University of Helsinki) (2012, March 23).   New epilepsy gene located in dogs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/03/120323205337.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fdogs

One response to “Epilepsy gene discovery in dogs

  1. Pingback: Emotions matter: a dog’s view of facial expressions | DoggyMom.com

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