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  1. Early Adult Onset Deafness (EAOD) is an inherited deafness that strikes Border Collies in their prime (3-7 yrs). Dogs begin life with normal hearing, and go deaf in adulthood. Research attempting to isolate the gene(s) that cause this condition has been ongoing, and a preliminary DNA test is now available through projectDOG! Contained within the short sequence of DNA that causes EAOD are five mutations close to one another. Each could conceivably alter gene function and produce deafness. It is probable that only one of these mutations is the true cause of EAOD. The current preliminary test will give Normal, Carrier, or Affected results with a high degree of confidence and validity. A small percentage of dogs will have "Inconclusive" results, and those are the dogs needed to finalize the research for the specific target gene. The preliminary test is expensive to run as they are currently testing five suspect markers. The researchers need a significant population of dogs (approximately 1,000) to find the small group of Inconclusive dogs. Aggregate data from all dogs analyzed will help discern which of the candidate mutations is the actual cause of EAOD in Border Collies, to provide a financial sustainable model of testing the target marker (rather than five). In order to reach this goal, projectDOG expects to offer EAOD testing until September 30th, 2016. If, however, the demand for testing by the working Border Collie community is not strong, they may close testing sooner. Added value to encourage testing! Advances in DNA tech platforms have made it so that the cost of testing one or a few variants is the same as testing many variants. This means that without any additional cost, projectDOG can test and provide results for additional health risks in the working Border Collie breed. The tests included with EAOD are CEA, I-GS, and Mdr1. Most of this information has been mined from the projectDOG website, https://fidelis.projectdog.org/ and questions about the research and testing are best directed not to me, but to the projectDOG team, whose contact information can be found on the website. The site also has an FAQ page. I am sharing this information in the hope that it will personally benefit individuals and their dogs, as well as the Border Collie breed as a whole by reaching that research goal. I've ordered tests for all my dogs and am looking forward to the contribution they'll be making to this research. I hope many of you will join me!
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