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Just out of interest, I have just been looking at the inbreeding coefficients of some of the litters currently available and have discovered that many of them are way over the breed average of 13.4  one litters coefficient is way over 25.

I am wondering if breeders are bothered that they are producing litters with these results? If not can somebody please explain to me, as a Setter pet owner why this is so?  If I was currently looking for a puppy, these kind of results would make me look elsewhere.

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No Mel,  I was not replying to you and I know you adore your dogs and I imagine spend weeks choosing a stud dog to compliment your bitch.

I did however note that in a previous reply, you said  "I refuse to compromise on type and temperament".  Does this mean at the expense of breeding healthier dogs you would still choose not to compromise at all to keep your prefered type?



You do spend thousands on health testing as do others such as Marie. Unfortunately our ANKC seems behind in getting these results collated and into the public forum. Mate Select is a wonderful resource that actually allows all that testing to be used more widely and the COI is just part of all that information. Having this information available allows breeding programs and pup selection to be more diverse. I worry about an organisation that is worried about an old lifestyle magazine when I compare it to the KC information. KC is more proactive in their information and the message that they are sending out about pure bred dogs. Hopefully ours will catch up soon.

The easiest way to get public on our side is let them access information about responsible breeders and their stock for that breed.

If the heredity of a condition is not know and if it doesn't affect every generation, then it could be in both the sire's and dam's genetic makeup.  If it is, then it doesn't matter how low the COI is, the condition will eventually come to the fore. 

Sue, I get the feeling you are contradicting yourself here.

The higher the COI of a planned mating then the likelihood of the sire's and the dam's genetic makeup being similar is higher - making it all the more likely that these hidden and complex multifactorial problems will come to the fore. 

Pat, I agree with your comments, regarding the near sightedness of some breeders who will only breed clear with clear (rcd4 status) and

Mel, I also completely understand and agree with your comments in the challenges ahead with the now more difficult task to find the right stud dog in full consideration of health, type, temperament and COI.

We all know, that as we now have a DNA test for rcd4, we must, as responsible breeders, consider the breed mate selection with the test results in the front of our mind.  Given the rcd4 health condition is one of the more benign conditions when we consider other health conditions such as Epilepsy; GDV and MO which cannot be identified through testing but are identified only through open communication between breeders it is no wonder that breeders lean towards the lines that they know are healthy, even though the COI may be higher.  Smaller gene pools like we have here in Australia and in NZ are making this breed mate selection even more difficult than it already was! 

Making informed decisions (with all the information we have to hand) which sometimes, unfortunately isn't the full picture, is the best that we can ask for.  I know we have discussed this before, but a COI of 8% can still have a lineage that is riddled with health concerns like the ones I mentioned already.  Putting all our hopes in low COI's is thwart with as much danger as using unrelated lines of which we don't know (and are unable to establish) what the health risks are whereby using a more related dog (with a higher COI) from known healthy lines can produce a healthier litter.  How do we get a balance… is the priority health or COI?  As many have said, if we continue to increase COI’s then health is in jeopardy, but surely using lower COI’s to an unhealthy line creates a much quicker descent.  There needs to be long term plans, not nearsighted approaches just to the next litter.

I also agree with you Rhonda, the ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) has a long way to go to come close to having a comparable system as the UK KC.  We don't even have to send our certificates in to register that we are responsible breeders and have done the necessary testing.  In fact, we don't even have any mandatory testing for our breed here in Aus.

Well said.

Greg can you expand on your debunked comment and its relation to the tumour In Tasmania Devils . The tumour is evolving and changing over time so they are looking if the tumour strains are different. They are also unsure if the tumour is somehow able to suppress the devil's immune system. It is a disease that is spread when the devils bite each other which is normal behaviour. How does this relate to dogs and COI's?

Yes their theory of this cancer  being a genetic linked cancer is not proving to be correct. There are lots of examples where even one type of cancer can have many causes. Some genetic tendency and some hormonal etc. But how are you linking this to dogs and COI's?

there are many causes of cancers. some viruses can cause genetic damage which will predispose the victim to cancer,In humans there are about 200 types of cancer.    


The big C is a extensive issue and with so many factors it is understandable why it scares the heck out of us.  However I still do not get the connection Greg has implied re dogs and COIs. At this stage I will just assume there wasn't one to be explained and remain envious of the mate select program that the UK has.

 It is not a simple issue and many experts are dedicated to the cause of researching this dreadful contagious cancer. I hope they can save our population of tassie devils.

Professor Stephen O’Brien, from the US National Institute of Cancer, will be a keynote speaker at an international scientific workshop that is being organised by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, Menzies Research Institute, Tasmania and the Australasian Society for Microbiology.

The July 2011 workshop – Playing Devil’s Advocate: can microbiology save Tasmanian devils from an immortal, parasitic and contagious cancer? – aims to spark robust discussion about key management and research actions that could assist in the recovery of the Tasmanian devil. In the face of a unique and rapidly-evolving Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), this might require the latest techniques in conservation genetics, cancer research and vaccine development.

Prof O'Brien is recognised for research contributions in human and comparative genetics, evolutionary biology, HIV/AIDS, retro-virology, and species conservation. He will speak at the workshop on the experiences of species with low genetic diversity.

Other invited speakers include:

  • Associate Professor Greg Woods (Menzies Research Institute, Tasmania), who will discuss the development of DFTD vaccines;
  • Dr Menna Jones (The University of Tasmania), who will look at devil ecology and conservation strategies;
  • Associate Professor Kathy Belov (The University of Sydney), discussing devil MHC;
  • Dr Janine Duckworth (Landcare Research, New Zealand), speaking about vaccinia virus;
  • Dr Aude Fahrer (Australian National University), who will look at Freunds adjuvant and cancer immunotherapy; and
  • Dr Anne-Maree Pearse (Save the Tasmanian Devil Program), who will be speaking about the evolution of DFTD and chromosomal instability.

Greg the diseases you mention above are not contagious.

The DFTD tumour is of nerve cell origin and is spread between devils by direct cell transfer.

DFTD is extremely unusual: it is one of only three recorded cancers that can spread like a contagious disease. It is spread between individuals through biting.

This means that it is not spreading through increasing the gene pool.

The Captive breeding program is not being rethought it is being expanded as these isolated populations have not had the infected cells transfered to them.  The initial published work in the November 2006 editions of Veterinary Pathology and Nature established these facts.

Published work in Science (2010) confirms the possible nerve cell origins of the tumour using genetic techniques. Other genetic work undertaken by the AHL has shown a continuing genetic evolution of the tumour and unravelling the significance of this finding is an ongoing part of the work.

DFTD appears to be a new disease that is restricted to Tasmanian devils. No affected animals were detected among the 2000-plus devils trapped by six biologists between 1964 and 1995.

I don't understand how such a long bow can be drawn from this study and the research done on DFTD to justify the non appreciation of COI as one tool to aid in the guard against expression of recessive genetic disease traits.

Not playing a game Greg just trying to take your comments seriously. But if 'whatever' is your attitude to this involved discussion then I understand.




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