Recently, another genetic marker for a disease affecting the Leonberger has been found. The Leonberger Health Foundation, on which I am honored to serve as Vice President, is proud to have supported the efforts of the University of Minnesota to find LPN1, LPN2, and now LEMP. The LHF will continue to support research in genetic testing in hopes of providing breeders with every tool available to giving our beloved breed its best chance at a long and healthy life.
However, sometimes the addition of a new, and maybe not yet well understood, test can send an entire breeding community into hysterics. With time and knowledge, the dust will settle and everyone will remember that genetic testing is just that - a tool. One which we are blessed to have.
Longtime Australian Shepherd breeder and contributor to the Institute of Canine Biology, C.A. Sharp, wrote a great article about how to best use genetic testing as a tool without condemning a part of an already small breeding population. The article can be found here: Bad Genes, Babies & Bathwater.
From the University of Minnesota:
LEMP is a partially penetrant autosomal recessive disease. Autosomal recessive means that two copies of the mutation are required to show signs of disease; partially penetrant means that among genetically affected dogs (D/D) not all will show obvious clinical signs in their lifetime. N/N and D/N dogs do not develop the LEMP disease.
LEMP D/D dogs should not be used for breeding. We do not recommend exclusion of LEMP carrier (D/N) dogs from the breeding pool. Within each mating pair, at least one parent should be LEMP (N/N).
A direct quote made by Katie Minor of UofM on her Facebook page:
The point of genetic testing should be to keep as many dogs as possible in the breeding population without producing disease.
For more information on the genetic disease called LEMP, click here.
I have received results of the LEMP genetic test for my current breeding stock. Zippo, Cinder, Venture, and Bryn all have two clear alleles for the gene (N/N). Their test results will be up on OFA by mid-summer. In the meantime, copies of the documents for each of my dogs can be seen below and found in their gallery on the Tipping Point SmugMug page.
"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."