This is interesting research

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    Gene discovery will help dog breeders
    Janet French, The StarPhoenix\
      Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    A new finding by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and the
    University of Minnesota will give breeders a leg up in preventing a
    neurological problem in Labrador retrievers.

    Researchers at the veterinary colleges of both universities, along with the
    University of California, San Diego, say they have discovered the gene
    responsible for exercise-induced collapse (EIC) syndrome, which causes dogs’
    legs to collapse during intense exercise and excitement.
    “This (discovery) is a big thing in the Labrador retriever world,”  says
    veterinarian Dr. Robert Gillette, director of the Veterinary Sports Medicine
    program at Auburn University in Alabama. Gillette, who investigates illness
    and injury prevention in high-performance dogs and horses, was not  involved
    in the study.
      “It would be great to be able to identify this thing (EIC) early,”  he
    “It’s a heart-breaker disease because it won’t show up until you’ve had the
    dog for a period of time, then you’ve fallen in love with the dog and it’s
    showing signs.”
    According to the paper, published Sunday online in the journal Nature
    Genetics, a mutation in a dog gene called dynamin 1 is strongly associated
    with the condition. The dynamin 1 protein (which is made based on
    instructions in the gene) is present in dogs’ brains and spinal cords. It
    forms vessels  around chemical signals in nerves so those signals can be
    sent out of one nerve cell and into the next.

      University of Saskatchewan vet college Prof. Dr. Susan Taylor did  detailed
    physical exams of dogs for the study and was one of the paper’s co- authors.
    Dogs were flown in from all over North America for Taylor to assess so she
    could root out which dogs have EIC and which have other conditions that
    could cause collapse. Her Minnesota colleagues screened the DNA of more than
    300 dogs with and without EIC, and were able to narrow the search down to
    one errant gene on canine chromosome 9.
    Taylor says a mutation in the dynamin 1 protein makes sense, because it only
    tends to become active during times of high excitement or exertion and
    possibly in hot temperatures.
    Although dogs whose legs have collapsed will keep wobbling along and are not
    in pain during an episode, occasionally older dogs can die.
      “We honestly don’t know exactly why they die,” Taylor said, adding it could
    be a seizure or the dog could stop breathing.
    EIC can also be career-ending for dogs who compete in hunting trials.
      A benefit of identifying the mutation is that breeders can now get a vet to
    send a blood sample to the University of Minnesota for a genetic test,
    Taylor said. Because the syndrome is a recessive trait, breeders could cross
    Labrador who has the mutation with one who doesn’t and get puppies free from
    the problem.
    An estimated 30 to 40 per cent of Labradors carry the genetic mutation.
    “It’s worth getting it out of the breed,” said Taylor, who believes
    eventually, with informed breeding, EIC could be eliminated from the gene
    The genetic test will also make it much easier — and cheaper — to
    diagnose the syndrome, Taylor said.

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    Val, I agree it is very interesting research and could be very significant. However, and you probably already know what I’m going to say, we’re talking about labrador retrivers here. The hands down most popular breed in the world (I believe).  Literally hundreds of thousands are born on this continent alone every year. Maybe 1/10th of the breeding stock have any health tests at all.

    I could see this having a real practical application if we were talking about my breed or yours , I hate to say it, but the labrador retriever, as a whole, is doomed. Dedicated breeders who perform health tests ,and include this one, can and hopefully will save the breed but will it be able to maintain the numbers it now has? no way.

    What do you think?

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