香港終於有寵物DNA測試

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We visited the laboratory of AMVET Biosciences, which is located at Hong Kong Science Park, Shatin. 我們探訪了位於香港科學園的安活生物科技有限公司實驗室。

 

 (English version please scroll down)

多年前,我們只知道外國有DNA測試,利用這些生物科技,繁殖者可以避免了一些遺傳病和不理想的遺傳特徵,如不正確的毛色和毛長度。以往我們只能靠外國的實驗室幫助才能作DNA測試,但現在有了好消息,本地也有實驗室可以有同樣的服務,是寵物愛好者、繁殖者和獸醫的喜訊。

當香港未有這些服務時,我們需要外國的繁殖者幫忙,當他們把繁殖的貓運來香港時,要知道牠或牠的父母的基因資料,從而推斷有否問題,而當中包括一種稱為neonatal isoerythrolysis的初生溶血性問題(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899707/),那是關乎血型的,貓一般有A和B型,極少數AB,當一隻A型血的初生小貓,吃了血型是B的母貓的奶後,便可能會出現紅血球受破壞的情況,因而夭折,所以繁殖者要知道繁殖的公貓和母貓的血型。以往我們靠外國繁殖者提供的資料,近年則有一些外國實驗室,可以讓我們較容易把樣本寄過去做測試,從而知道血型,但需時較長。要推算出下代貓的血型是基礎的基因學,一點都不難,我們藉著這些資料和基因測試,從未因為這樣而出現過類似問題。

然而,很多之前去了新家的貓,因為只是作為寵物飼養,不是用來繁殖,我們並不會作測試,如新主人們有需要我們也樂意效勞,也可以直接找獸醫幫忙。不過,原來近年除了狗之外,香港也多了一些貓輸血的個案,所以早點知道貓的血型也有好處,無論是作捐血抑或受血,都會有幫助。(但獸醫應會在進行有關血的治療時抽血來驗一次,以作確定)

*其實現在很多獸醫診所都可以驗出血型,記得那種測試套件在2001年時我們要從外國訂的,現在則很普遍了,但它不能驗出血型的基因。

如果你不知道你的貓的基因情況,建議你應試下採集貓的口腔細胞作DNA測試,可以知道會否有一些致命的遺傳病。相信很多人常看到有些繁殖者會強調他們的貓是PKD或HCM陰性的,即不帶有遺傳性腎病和心臟病的基因,這些正是可以透過DNA測試找出來,我們繁殖者一早就已經用這種測試來保障下代健康。

最近我們喜聞香港有一定叫安活生物科技的公司開始提供相同的DNA測試,這樣我們可以更快取得結果,亦不怕樣本會寄失,而更重要是,香港的獸醫應會更樂意與這些實驗室合作,讓更多寵物主人得益,享用到這些服務。

我們也探訪過這家生物科技公司的實驗室,並與其創辦人錢寶生博士談過,錢博士是分子生物學基因專家,對病毒研究也非常有經驗,大家可以到該公司的科站了解更多:http://www.amvet.com.hk/。錢博士對我們說,他們的實驗室會有多個範疇的服務,如找出遺傳病的基因篩選、基因圖譜及血緣關係分析、分子診斷(如一些病毒)、鳥類性別鑑定和儲存基因資料的生物銀行服務。就說貓方面的測試,現在外國有的大部分測試,他們都有,所以這些服務可幫我們更快知道結果,並作出篩選和避免症病。錢博士亦指未來會與本地的獸醫合作,提供一些疾病的測試,這可以進一步幫助獸醫們診斷病情,這也是令人期待的,這些新的科技可以促進我們深愛的寵物的健康!

DNA Screening Services Available in Hong Kong Now

Years before we have been told that there are DNA screening service available in other countries. With the help of the latest biotechnology, breeders can get rid of some health problems, fatal inherited diseases and unwanted traits, like incorrect coat color and length. In the past, the service can only be ordered overseas, and now we hear a good news that a local laboratory starts offering the service to pet lovers, breeders and vets.

At the moment when such kind of service was lacking in Hong Kong, we needed to have the help from the breeders who sent us the breeding cats. They provided us the parental genetic information of the cat imported which allowed us to deduce their traits. The unwanted genetic traits may cause health problems. Among the problems, one of the most concerned risk is called neonatal isoerythrolysis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899707/). It is about the blood typing of cats. A, B and AB(rare) are commonly known as the three blood groups of domestic cat.  New born Type A kitten will die from being fed the milk of a type B queen. So most breeders carefully pick the correct queen and stud to ensure no offspring will be affected. The DNA screening involves the blood group B genotype. We import our breeding queens from oversea breeders who helps us to trace the blood group. It is easy to trace by fundamental genetics. In recent years we can also send the DNA samples to laboratory and get the results. As long as we have started breeding British Shorthair, none of our kittens died of neonatal isoerythrolysis.

Most re-homed kittens or cats are living as pet, so the blood type of them will not adversely affect their health and therefore it is not our current procedures before arranging new homes. However, the new owners can request for it. We are happy to help and the pet owner can do it by themselves with the help from vets too. Recently, there are more local cases of blood transfusion of cats, so it is also a good idea to find out the blood group of the cat (please be reminded that vets need to collect blood for confirming blood group before any therapy about blood), no matter your cat will be a donor or recipient.

*A quick test available at many local vet clinics, but it needs to collect blood from the cats. I remember I needed to order the test kit overseas in 2001 and now it is more popular. But the test kit cannot get the genotype of blood group of the cat, breeders must run the DNA tests .

If you don’t know how the genetic condition of your cat is, you are recommended to use the DNA screening service by collecting buccal cells, it can probe for some lethal diseases. You may find some breeders who always emphasize that their cats are PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) and HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) negative. They are the diseases that can be screened as many other breed-specific feline genetic disorders. We many breeders have done the tests for a period of time.

We are happy to learn that a local laboratory AMVET Biosciences(安活生物科技) now offers the DNA tests for cat. We will get the results sooner and need not to worry the sample undelivered. And, it is very important that the local vets can work with the laboratory and make the service available to more pet owners.

We visited the laboratory and had a nice chat with the founder of the laboratory, Dr. Mario P S Chin. He is an expert of molecular genetics and systems virology. You can learn more about him and laboratory at this link: http://www.amvet.com.hk/.

Dr. Chin told us that their laboratory are working on Inherited Genetic Disorder Screenings, Canine and Feline DNA Profiling and Parentage Analysis, Molecular Diagnosis, Avian Sexing and BioBanking. In the category of cat, they now offer most disease tests available in foreign laboratories. The time required for getting the results is now greatly shortened. For most of us, the cat breeders, the service will help us to avoid the diseases caused by unwanted genes. Dr. Chin will also work with local vets and offer them tests of other diseases caused by viruses. We look forward to them and hope the technologies can promote better health of our lovely pets.

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▲Inside the laboratory and the instruments. 該公司已提供DNA測試服務,圖為實驗室內設備。

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▲ Dr. Mario PS Chin (Right), the founder of AMVET. Dr. Chin introduced the very first molecular biological laboratory to Hong Kong which provides DNA screening service to pet animals. 筆者與安活生物科技有限公司創辦人錢寶生博士會面交談,獲益良多,他是首次為香港引入提供寵物DNA測試服務的實驗室。

2015 July update: 更新

Amvet has introduced new tests for feline, including FIV and FeLV DNA probing. It is a good news to cat shelters and cat owners.

這香港的寵物基因測試實驗室,已經提供貓愛滋和貓白血病的DNA測試。對於一些新貓主和貓收養中心會是好消息。

http://www.amvet.com.hk/news/fiv-felv2

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Kiwidom Cattery

Cattery specialized in British Shorthair since 2000

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