The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD), of which the Kennel Club is a founding partner, has announced an initiative called the ‘Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs’, to support the appropriate selection and use of DNA testing in dog health and breeding decisions.
The ever-increasing emergence of new canine DNA tests and testing laboratories has made choosing quality DNA testing providers, and the right DNA tests for health and breeding decisions, increasingly challenging for many owners, breeders and veterinarians.
Working with a wide-spectrum of stakeholders in dog health, the IPFD’s ‘Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs’ initiative will provide practical support to address these challenges.
With no existing national or international standards of accreditation, or standardisation oversight group, there is a growing need for a reliable third party neutral organisation which can provide guidance surrounding test reliability, laboratory quality assurance processes and procedures, test applicability by breed, and provide advice regarding interpretation and best use of genetic test results.
This is needed to support consumer confidence in DNA testing, educate consumers in the use of these tests, utilise these tests effectively as tools to reduce the incidence of inherited disease, and to reduce redundant international efforts. The IPFD will work to coordinate and consolidate expertise, as well as ongoing and new work to increase the availability of resources to consumers.
The goal of this new IPFD initiative is to create an open access, searchable and sustainable online resource that will:
- Catalogue information provided voluntarily from commercial test providers for genetic testing in dogs
- Describe expertise, quality assurance, activities and resources of the test providers
- Host expert panel reviews of genetic tests, their reliability, and applicability
- Coordinate a programme for standardised proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit
- Collate/assemble existing and new resources for genetic counselling and education, and provide the foundation for future developments.
The initial phase of the initiative is to develop a working prototype of the online resource. Both the prototype and the final output will be hosted on the IPFD’s website at www.dogwellnet.com. The initiative will be guided by IPFD CEO, Brenda Bonnett and Project Director, Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, who was the Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Research before returning to the United States at the end of 2016.
The initiative will be overseen by a multi-stakeholder steering committee set up by the IPFD and initial funding for the prototype is provided through generous contributions from IPFD founding partners, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. The IPFD is inviting other collaborators and potential contributors to contact them via Brenda.Bonnett@ipfdogs.com or Aimee.Llewellyn-Zaidi@ipfdogs.com.