With the advent of advanced technologies like Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), the application of targeted genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) for breeding and selection in agriculture has become common. An emerging frontier in Agrigenomics is improving the breeding of dogs, cats and other companion animals using modern scientific knowledge and next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques. Animal parentage testing has evolved from blood typing to genotyping of short tandem repeats, which is transitioning to targeted GBS of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). AgriSeq is a high-throughput, low-cost sequencing platform, whether used with pre-designed, commercial genomics panels or custom panels designed to a researcher’s or breeder’s specifications. Customers can work with the AgriSeq bioinformatics team during panel design to make sure their custom panels are as functional, usable and verified as those produced for industrial applications, using their bank of genomics information on various species to choose and test markers and even switch between them over time.
Canine and feline breeding have two main uses for advanced genetics techniques and information: verifying pedigrees, and checking for genetic health. Angela Burrell is a staff scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific who develops targeted GBS solutions for animal genomics customers. Her recent focus has been on developing one feline and two canine AgriSeq panels, featuring markers selected with both of these goals in mind. AgriSeq panels are designed to give breeders and researchers quality, high-throughput sequencing data, helping dog and cat breeders screen for genetic diseases and protect the health and quality of their stock. Especially in the context of pure breeds, whose limited genetic diversity makes them uniquely predisposed to a variety of known genetic health risks, being able to screen for the markers of such risks helps keep them from causing health problems later in life. It also prevents them from continuing to propagate through the broader population of dogs and cats, leading to healthier animals and longer, happier lives for people’s pets.
To develop AgriSeq panels, Angela and other scientists consult with thought leaders in the relevant industries to curate and select markers from the innumerable possibilities available. The bioinformatics team then designs the oligo primers for genotyping these markers, and the resulting panel is evaluated to make sure that all markers respond robustly and accurately across variable samples. Marker Call rates and concordance currently exceed 98.7% for AgriSeq panels.
Particularly exciting in the context of companion animals like dogs and cats, AgriSeq panels bring the ability to detect SNPs and insertion-deletion mutations (indels) to canine and feline applications, offering an even greater array of conditions and parentage markers to breeders. This means each assay can deliver even more information than older assays that relied exclusively on a smaller set of possible markers. AgriSeq, therefore, brings cutting-edge modern genomics tools into the companion animal industry, for the betterment of cats and dogs everywhere.
For more information on how the AgriSeq genotyping solution can help you address your research questions, contact us.
For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.