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Should you get your pets DNA tested Scientists urge caution

first_img E.K.: Dogs and humans are very similar to one another, so you can use the same technology to look at dog DNA or human DNA. With these direct to consumer tests, for dogs or humans, often you’re not looking at every single part of the genome. You’re just looking for changes, or mutations, that are linked to some kind of disease or condition.Q: How accurate are the tests for dogs that are now on the market?E.K.: With genetic tests for humans, there have been so many studies that look at whether or not a certain mutation in your genes actually leads to you developing a certain disease. There just isn’t this massive body of work on dog genomes. So many of these tests are telling owners that their dog could get a certain disease without any major studies on how likely that is to happen. The science needs to catch up.Q: What are the dangers of potentially inaccurate test results?L.M.: In my veterinary practice, I’ve seen more and more people coming in with results that show their dog has a chance of developing conditions like epilepsy, heart disease, and degenerative muscular disorders, and they want to make treatment decisions right away. They’re ready to pay for more tests or medical interventions that the dog might not actually need, that could be quite expensive, and that could be invasive for the dog. In some cases, people preemptively end their dog’s life if they think their dog is predisposed to a degenerative disease, because don’t they want their pet to suffer.Q: Genetic testing kits for humans are regulated. Why aren’t pet tests? By Frankie SchembriJul. 25, 2018 , 1:00 PM Should you get your pet’s DNA tested? Scientists urge caution GIL COHEN MAGEN/REUTERS/Newscom Q: What kind of pets are being tested?Lisa Moses: It’s overwhelmingly dogs. There are some tests for cats, but right now it’s about 90% dogs.Q: Why would an owner want to get their pet’s DNA tested?Elinor Karlsson: A lot of dog owners are interested in what breeds are in their dog, or some fun facts, like how big their dog could get. But there’s also testing for somewhere between 100 and 200 different genetic variants that have been linked to disease.Q: Is the process of testing a dog’s DNA different from testing a human’s? Michael J. Butts Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Veterinarian and researcher Lisa Mosescenter_img A sample of dog saliva contains enough DNA for a genetic test. L.M.: With any new technology, regulation often lags behind, and for humans, there’s been more time for conversations to take place, and rules have been established that govern how the tests are vetted. With veterinary medicine, there hasn’t been a formal and systematic discussion about the ethics related to these new technologies. We need to start talking about this, because right now a lot of people are in the dark.Q: What might happen if this industry continues to go unregulated?L.M.: I worry that if the tests don’t improve, people are going to notice that their dogs don’t actually get the diseases they’re at risk for. I don’t want people to lose the idea that there is tremendous value in genetic testing, if we do it right. We really do have the potential to figure out that our patients get diseases long before they do permanent damage, if we are able to make this happen.Q: How can we improve genetic testing for pets?L.M.: We need to start with a conversation that encompasses the international veterinary community, the testing industry, and the scientists. We have to come up with some mutually agreed upon ways to report these results, and figure out how to validate them. We’d need to have transparency on how the tests are done, how the science is done, and talk seriously about data sharing. There’s a consortium, the International Partnership for Dogs, and they’re trying to do some standardization and data sharing. But, it’s brand new and I don’t know yet how successful they’re going to be.Q: What kind of things could we learn from pet genetics, if we do it right?E.K.: Dogs carry a lot of the same diseases humans do. By studying dogs, we could learn a lot about the causes of things like cancer, or diabetes, and use that information to develop new treatments for humans. You’ve probably seen an ad for a company that wants to tell you about your genome. Just spit in a tube, send it in, and you can learn about your disease risk.Now, you can do the same for your pets, at least according to nearly a dozen—and growing—companies on the market. But how accurate are these tests—and why are these businesses not subject to the same regulations as those that analyze human DNA?Science chatted with Lisa Moses, a veterinarian affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Elinor Karlsson, director of vertebrate genomics at the  Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both are authors on an opinion piece published today in Nature about these and other potential issues with the booming pet genomics industry. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Lisa Moses Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Evolutionary biologist Elinor Karlsson Emaillast_img read more

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