EXPLORING GENETIC DIVERSITY IN SAMOYEDS WITH A GENOME-WIDE DNA ANALYSIS

The Samoyed takes its name from the Samoyedic people, an Asiatic group of nomadic origins living in Siberia. These reindeer herders bred the fluffy white dogs to help with the herding, and to pull sleds when they moved. In Europe, the breed is known also as Bjelkier. In Russian, the dogs are called Voinaika which means lead or direction dog or guard, hunting and war dog.

First Bjelkiers were imported to Europe in 1889. In Finland, breeding of the white breed started after the Second World War. The population size of Finnish dogs is considered quite small and thus the active Samoyed breeders and owners have as a common goal the preservation of the genetic diversity within the breed.

In the spring 2013, aware of the importance of the genetic diversity in the Club’s breeding strategy, Genoscoper Laboratories approached the Breed Club and its active breeders proposing a pilot project of a whole new genome-wide diversity analysis. A group of active breeders were immediately on board seeing the importance of the new genome-wide collected information about their breed.

Genetic diversity of Bjelkier – A sneak peek

Based on the dog population analysed in the MyDogDNA pilot analysis, the level of genetic diversity sits above the median of all of the tested dogs in the database (around 3,000 dogs). Even though the population size of less than 50 dogs is very small, it gives an initial indication that the active Samoyed breeders and owners would have succeeded in their systematic efforts for preserving diversity.

However, for the Breed Club to get more accurate data, the testing needs to continue and for the breeders to get the maximum benefits, it is important to test the dogs that are actively used in breeding and coming from different breeding lines.

Creating a view to the genetic lineage in Samoyeds

The below diagram gives the possibility to examine possible intra-breed lines and tested individual dogs that appear to be genetically different from the main population. The more there are tested dogs, the better we will be able to observe the genetic differences. The data can, for instance, be monitored against pedigree information and against known lines, both per country and globally, or the lines can be mapped against the information available on known diseases within breed, such as diabetes and epilepsy, both mentioned as great concerns by the Samoyed breeders and both representing inherited problems that currently cannot be assessed by means of single gene DNA testing.

The next goal of the Club and of its breeders is to reach the population of 100 tested dogs! This would indeed make it possible to look more closely at the distribution of the known inherited disorders within the breed.

Mating of genetically different dogs becomes possible

To further facilitate the preservation of the genetic diversity of the Samoyed, it is important that the genetically different individuals can be easily identified. For this purpose MyDogDNA database contains a dedicated MyDogDNA Breeder dog matchmaking tool that is freely available to all of the dog owners. The tool helps evaluate the impact of the planned mating pairs to the genetic health of the future offspring based on both the genome-wide measured diversity and the test results for the inherited disorders included in the MyDogDNA test panel.

For both the Samoyed Club and its breeders, the maximum benefits from canine DNA testing become concrete once all of the reproduction dogs are systematically tested – both for the known inherited disorders and genetic diversity. Without one or the other the view to the breed’s DNA is not as comprehensive as it could be.

Aiming at 100 tested dogs!
Join and spread the word!

As a MyDogDNA Breed Club the Samoyed Club of Finland can provide the Samoyed breeders around the world with a 10% discount on the MyDogDNA PASS genome-wide analysis.

Pick up the code from the Club’s website:
http://samy.fi/en