Genetic Diversity Testing for English Mastiff


The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL), in collaboration with Dr. Niels C. Pedersen and staff, has developed a panel of short tandem repeat (STR) markers that will measure genetic heterogeneity and diversity across the genome and in the Dog Leukocyte Antigen (DLA) class I and II regions for specified dog populations. This test panel will be useful to dog breeders who wish to use DNA-based testing as a supplement to in-depth pedigrees. DNA based information on genetic heterogeneity and diversity, along with DNA testing results for desired phenotypes and health traits, can aid in informing breeding decisions.

A DNA-based genetic assessment of the English Mastiff breed is now in the preliminary results phase with the objective of creating a snapshot of individual- and breed-wide genetic heterogeneity and diversity. This initial testing involved 23 English Mastiff from the USA (n=20) and Australia (n=3). These dogs were tested on a voluntary basis and include closely related pedigrees as well as two littermates rather than the preferred sampling of dogs specifically selected to be as unrelated as possible and most accurately represent the breed as a whole. We are accepting additional dogs from all parts of the world with a goal of 50-75 individuals to complete this preliminary phase. This data base will be progressively expanded as more dogs are added with the goal of characterizing all the known alleles for the breed at 33 STR autosomal loci and existing DLA class I and II haplotypes identified by seven additional STRs.


$50 one test per animal

This is the cost for the dogs that will be tested in the research phase. Once the research phase is complete, the test will be offered at the regular rate of $80.


Results reported as:

Short tandem repeat (STR) loci: A total of 33 STR loci from across the genome were used to gauge genetic diversity within an individual and across the breed. The alleles inherited from each parent are displayed graphically to highlight heterozygosity, and breed-wide allele frequency is provided.

DLA haplotypes: STR loci linked to the DLA class I and II genes were used to identify genetic differences in regions regulating immune responses and self/non-self recognition. Problems with self/non-self recognition, along with non-genetic factors in the environment, are responsible for autoimmune disease.

Internal Relatedness: The IR value is a measure of genetic diversity within an individual that takes into consideration both heterozygosity of alleles at each STR loci and their relative frequency in the population. Therefore, IR values heterozygosity over homozygosity and uncommon alleles over common alleles. IR values are unique to each dog and cannot be compared between dogs. Two dogs may have identical IR values but with very different genetic makeups.


Report issued September 18, 2019. Daily updated statistics are here.

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