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Genetics research is in stampede mode!  New tests galloping out of laboratories around the world.  This test will soon be available for all breeds.





By Julie Borst Reed, Color/Health Genetics Editor


Breakthrough DNA test available at U C Davis’ Veterinary Genetic Laboratory (VGL) evaluating DNA for Genome-wide Genetic Diversity in Standard Poodles!


This posted as a commercial test on in January 2015 for the first time. Dr. Niels Pedersen headed the research investigating sebaceous adenitis which led to examining more detail of the Standard Poodle genome. This DNA test for Standard Poodle genetic diversity is a FIRST for ANY canine breed to be made publicly available. There have been a couple for different cat breeds that Dr. Pedersen arranged and one for the rare breed, Alaskan Klee Kai is to post any day (possibly also Italian Greyhounds is now in the works).


Many breed health committees will want to have their breeds involved and many fanciers of many breeds have already contacted U.C. Davis’ VGL to see how to have a genome-wide assessment DNA test set up for their own breeds. Pure-bred dogs will be the winners!


There is a slide show linked below that explains the situation in Standard Poodles (and pertains to many other closed-studbook, purebred breeds).  The very well done presentation by Standard Poodle Fancier, Natalie Green Tessier, shows how important it is to hold onto known rare genes and to locate any more that we can fold further into the gene pool.  Dr. Pedersen is quoted as saying, “A majority of Standard Poodles have the minority of the genes.”  Again, that applies to many purebred animals today.


Special acknowledgement must be given to all donating to the Poodle Club of America Foundation as the PCAF was instrumental in funding the sebaceous adenitis research with Dr. Niels Pedersen, UC Davis. When that research was not able to go forward due to the DNA presented determined to be too closely related, the fanciers participating in the Standard Poodle Project were instrumental in sending in DNA from the more rare pedigrees. The Standard Poodle Project is a loosely structured email-based group of Standard Poodle Fanciers that have dedicated years of research into locating more of the rare lines of the world. Many of these fanciers have been studying together since the late Nineteen-nineties when they found a kinship of purpose studying under Dr. John Armstrong of the Canine Diversity Project email group. Full details will be published this year concerning the UC Davis SA / Immune Study – the additional benefit early-on (NOW) is the new DNA test provided by UC Davis’ Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL).


Genetic Diversity DNA History

Because of the overall bleak genetic situation in which some researchers consider the Std Pdl gene pool to be like half siblings, others stating equivalent to full siblings and even Dr. Pedersen mentioned “clone-like genetics,” other varieties have been brought in to assist in opening the gene pool for the Standards per recommendations given by researchers over 15 years ago and with each universities’ investigation.


Breeders around the nation dedicated to Standard Poodles knew this would be a vital step to add to their breeding programs if they were going to lessen the chance of immune-mediated disease running through the Standard Poodle gene pool. Without DNA analysis of the situation, bringing in other pure-bred Poodle genetics from the other varieties (and from around the world) was the best solution to rebuilding the Standard Poodle gene pool.


Support of like-minded people came together slowly and within 10 years the Standard Poodle Project was formed and opened to those wanting to improve the Standard Poodle situation. The support was deeply appreciated by those breaking ground and there were pockets around the United States of those producing inter-variety diversity. At least four members in the San Diego Poodle Club have done successful inter-variety matings with their Standard Poodles. The results have all been Standard Poodle size (over 15” tall) for the club members, but indeed, much smaller Standards overall of course.


There was no point in any of the Breeders taking these steps around North America to take the inter-variety offspring back into Standards too quickly, as that would surely ruin the progress gained.


Now with the new DNA test, Breeders may choose that path utilizing the DNA results and the mate matching done by the computer that UC Davis promises to offer in a service via subscription.


The new DNA test will alleviate much of the inter-variety matings as the source of rare genetic input as soon as we can have full assessments from the researcher Dr. Pedersen and his team.


Until the pockets of less related DNA is located in Standard Poodles through testing, at least we do have the inter-variety dogs to assist and bring forth. Poodle Breeders have the inter-variety matings to help with spiraling inbreeding statistics and are fortunate for that. Many, many breeds, actually most, do not have that option. It is also important to note, that historically in the Poodle breed, all stds have mini and toy / all minis have std and toy / and all toys have std and mini influence in their genetic makeup already. The support and understanding of these breedings will be and are appreciated by all Standard Poodle fancy members working diligently for the benefit of the gene pool.


The Standard Poodles were isolated from inter-variety matings in the late Nineteen-forties, and then inbred on just five dogs of the 1950s so much over the next decades, that you could not / cannot find a Standard Poodle of breeding age in the world not related to those FIVE Wycliffe Founders starting in 2002.


The Genetic Bottleneck

Learn how to avoid meeting yourself coming back with no way around the genetic bottleneck!

There is now a new calculation to help people see past those five dogs called Mid-century Bottleneck (MCB) on the Poodle Health Registry (PHR) pedigree database open to all on the internet. The three major bottlenecks in the gene pool are shown now on each dog’s entry: % Wycliffe, % OEA and % MCB. The second acronym is a third bottleneck determined and called Old English Apricots (OEA). Lynn Brucker of Ohio has been dedicated for years in establishing pedigree data on Standard Poodles. Lynn heads the PHR and also publishes a CD of pedigrees called The Standard Poodle Database, offered as updated each year in April at the national Poodle show hosted by PCA for a donation to the Poodle Club of America Foundation (PCAF). This database produced by Lynn and her volunteers including Nancy Clifton, is reportedly up to 230,000 Standard Poodles from across the world and time and is a sister project of the PHR. The three bottlenecks will be noted on the upcoming addition available at the national specialty April 2015 in Salisbury, MD. The database can also be ordered during/after the event through the PCAF.


As mentioned, the PCA Affiliate Club of the San Diego Poodle Club has several members that have been devoted to this genetic diversity project and do have (full) Standard Poodles with no Miniature up close and yet outstanding, diverse pedigrees. The results are coming in now from UC Davis. Some are better than others and it is simple to see how in a generation or two you can change the program to more diverse with this new information from UC Davis! Many of these same Breeders also have Standard Poodles with miniature influence up close with even greater diversity and the benefit is easily read.


Members who submitted Std Pdl DNA for the project study early on when the more rare dogs were requested to build the database are: Debrah Kaye-Jolgren, Eleni Stevens, Wendy Cronkrite and Kirk and Julie Reed. Additionally, member Sally Ciraolo also participated, as Sally has imported quite a few Miniature Poodles in an attempt to have more diverse genetics in her chosen variety, the Miniature. It is hoped the Miniature and Toy Breeders will also build a database at UC Davis to ensure greater longevity through diversity for their varieties as well. The above SDPC members submitted DNA thought to be more rare to this genetic diversity study in the research phase with Standard (USA and Russia), Miniature (Medium/Moyen from Europe and Russia) samples. The VGL DNA certificates are coming in and are so very educational to study and learn about each dog.


Genetic Diversity For The Future

Anyone can now purchase a DNA study for their Standard Poodle(s) through the VGL; turn-around time is promised to be 10 days/2 weeks. This will be fabulous and a saving grace when selecting puppies for various purposes (pet or show/breeding) that the information is back so quickly before pups have to be selected for new homes. It is hoped that this genome-wide DNA analysis service to be offered by UC Davis will be available for all dog breeds and possibly horse breeds in the coming years.


An “Avalanche” of Appreciation

Natalie Green Tessier, of Buffalo, NY, was instrumental in assisting the UC Davis team in gathering DNA for the initial phase. Natalie put together the slide show linked below to share with everyone for free. She posted this educational aid with the announcement of the DNA test 8 January 2015. In the late summer of 2013, Natalie left the Standard Poodle Project email group to go to college for another year (‘13/’14) to learn more about what steps were needed to accomplish a more thorough knowledge of the Standard Poodle gene pool.


Natalie Green Tessier freely shares what she has learned in population genetics and was a catalyst to spur Dr. Pedersen into the promised action from two years ago when he said he would look deeper into Standard Poodle genetic diversity issue with a genome-wide test (as he and his lab associates have done in a couple of cat breeds – Dr. Pedersen is well known for his work concerning cat viruses as well).


Side note: The AKC Canine Health Foundation-funded, bloat study headed by Dr. Claire Rebecca Sharp of Tufts University, is also using genome-wide DNA assessment to build a biobank to better evaluate genes that may be associated with that condition.

Those in Standard Poodles that knew this Genome-wide DNA analysis was possible and promised, were chomping on our bits to have it all get started and felt badly to read that Dr. Pedersen was disappointed and not trusting the response he would get from Poodle owners submitting DNA.


When Dr. Pedersen reportedly told Natalie last summer, that he couldn’t get many of the Poodle people to donate the Standard Poodle DNA for the SA study, he complained that “the dogs are so inbred, I can’t find a set of dogs to use as controls – we have to look at more of the genome to find the less-related dogs.”  Natalie reportedly told him that she knew we would come through for him and he agreed to give it a try.  Natalie asked the members on the Standard Poodle Project, headed by Laura Bernier, to “Send him an ‘avalanche’ of DNA test kits to flood his desk!”  That all started gradually in July 2014 with a crescendo reached just before the holidays 2014.  Then, 8th of January, a new DNA test for Std Pdl Genetic Diversity was posted at VGL with detailed information to be gleaned and given interested Breeders.  A new tool in mate selection like never before offered in pure-bred canines!


Dr. Pedersen’s team worked brilliantly, and although with about 200 more kits to analyze, they are also working to build the mate selection database for Standard Poodles now as well there at VGL. With this database, stud dogs will have their genome-wide DNA tested (for $100.00) and posted at stud if their owners agree. Bitch owners will submit their girl’s DNA to be tested the same and be given a list of stud dogs that complement their bitch(es) to produce greater diversity in the offspring and thus, statistically much less early, on-set disease should develop in these new age Standard Poodles! It really is a-dream-come true for many Standard Poodle Breeders. There will be a subscription fee, but those details have not been published concerning the mate matching per DNA service as of late January 2015.


Those purchasing a Standard Poodle Genetic Diversity kit(s) today are promised that their submission(s) will have their analysis go ahead of the backlogged research phase kits that piled in during the month of December.


Dr. Pedersen has some exciting insight to share, that he will be publishing and all will be very proud to have given him that “avalanche” with which he could sort and study. It will no doubt take months for his paper to be written and to be peer-reviewed, but pure-bred dogs will certainly never be so in the dark again. Dr. Pedersen told Natalie, "Please thank all of the breeders who participated in the research phase. We could not have done this without them and this is probably the best collective effort on the part of breeders that I have experienced."


Dr. Pedersen is including the Poodle Club of America Foundation funding, donations of time, money and DNA and just how well everyone rallied around and cooperated to get this job done. I believe there will be about 500 DNA analyses done in his research phase and he was hoping for 300. Congratulations Poodle People – congratulations Pure-bred dogs!


Here is the Genetics Presentation slide show:

This is presented by the very talented Natalie Green Tessier, Poodles de Grenier. Buffalo, NY.



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