MANHATTAN -- You might call them "genetics central"
Veterinarian Brad Fenwick's Kansas State University laboratory will process, catalogue and permanently store the DNA from approximately 8,000 racing greyhounds this year, and will continue this task every year from now into the foreseeable future.
Beginning with a two-year grant from the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, Fenwick and his laboratory staff evaluated various DNA-based systems used by animal registries around the world. The goal was to evaluate the state of the science and to develop the procedures and a program for consideration for implementation of a DNA genetic registration system by the National Greyhound Association in Abilene, Kan.
"The methods to reliably use DNA to determine the pedigree and to identify individual dogs have dramatically advanced in the past few years," Fenwick said. "The program that we developed closely parallels the programs used by the FBI and Kansas Bureau of Investigation for criminal investigations. In fact, we use almost the exact procedures including evidence seals and chain-of-custody tracking."
Based on Fenwick's findings and recommendations, the National Greyhound Association passed changes to their by-laws requiring that all male and female racing greyhounds that are used for breeding must have their DNA on file. Fenwick's laboratory became the repository of all the DNA samples and interacts with other laboratories that do the testing.
Fenwick said, "It was important that the laboratory that was responsible for collecting and holding the DNA, as well as interpreting the results was not the same laboratory doing the analysis. As part of our analysis we examined a number of other laboratories and provided testing kits to verify the quality of their work. Part of our responsibility is to protect the National Greyhound Association and its members by assessing other laboratories."