Home Page Forums Darwin’s Ark Genetic Diversity vs Gene Quality

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #7384
    Avatar photo
    linda holub 2

    I realize you get a massive number of e-mails with many repeat questions so I haven’t been in the forum for awhile but I’m hoping you have enough info to answer this topic question.
    Because I have 6 purebred dogs so I was able to compare somewhat. I have a 11 year old poodle which has had numerous problems since the age of four. This includes diabetes, low thyroid, and skin/blood issues causing hair loss — she is on medication for all 3 conditions. Anyhow, I always thought her immunity problems was due to the lack of genetic diversity but her diversity was actually better than one of my female Yorkies which at 10 years old has shown no genetically inherited problems. (Genetic diversity in poodle is 15% and it is 13% in the yorkie.)
    So, does gene quality outweigh genetic diversity? (Line breeding or in-breeding has always made me very angry but if an animal has a strong healthy genetic disposition it seems you will be more likely to get a healthier animal by repeating this genetic code a few times vs adding diversity to the code. It is the only explanation I can come up with to explain why the Yorkie doesn’t have health problems like the Poodle. This could also be a future genetic question for humans. )
    Thank you….

    Avatar photo
    kathleen morrill

    Hi Linda,

    Great question! This gets at a very important aspect of the genetics of health: breeding for improved health requires genetic diversity from which to selectively breed, but genetic diversity alone, in an individual dog, doesn’t determine health.

    Our current measurement of genetic diversity isn’t a perfect proxy for “inbreeding”. Right now, it measures the differences between the maternal and paternal DNA, from which the dog has inherited one copy from each parent.

    We are currently developing a better measurement, like COI. Here is a discussion about COI, and it brings up some points about COI being too low or too high:

    I also want to emphasize that geneticists and dog professionals may use the word “inbreeding” differently. Here, it’s a number that describes genetic variation and all individuals have some level of it. For dog professionals, inbreeding refers to specific mating or family tree structures. Of course, the breeding leads to changes in the number, but the relationship isn’t 1-to-1.

    Thank you for the question,

    Avatar photo

    My mutt’s reported genetic diversity is 22%; is that unremarkable for a multimix with completely unrelated parents? Embark reported her CoI as 0%, fwiw. She does have some rather closely related herding breeds between the two sides of her family, so I could see there being some increased overlap because of that.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login