I had the honour to be invited to give a talk at the annual American Veterinary Medical Association conference in Washington, DC on 04 August 2019.
I was asked to speak on the One Health aspects of genetic testing. Many of you will have heard of One Health. The human medical establishment started to coin this phrase in the early 2000's to indicate an approach to health that considered humans, animals an the environment. As a veterinarian and an epidemiologist I can tell you that we had that figured out a long time before, but as it was also put forward by Hippocrates, I don't suppose we will worry about who came first! For more info see this article by One Health Sweden... and their image. I specify how genetic testing fits under that umbrella.
It actually is a bit of a no-brainer isn't it? Everything we do with dogs is tied up with people and so many conditions of concern are affected by where and how we live, in the broadest sense.
When we talk about genetic testing, both from the science to the commercialization and application there are so many points of intersection between the human and pet world. As you will see in my talk, attached below, the impacts can't be ignored if we are to successfully navigate the world of genetic testing. For us and for our pets!
Although many of the issues raised are a cause for concern and increase our awareness of significant challenges, we should always keep in mind that there are a host of potential and even remarkable benefits to be realized from genetic testing. However, with Direct-To-Consumer marketing, the popularization of genetic testing, and the many challenges raised on the spectrum from discovery to application we all need the information and tools to make the best decisions.
These issues were also raised, discussed at the 4th IDHW and working groups are moving ahead to address them. IPFD has the Harmonization of Genetic Testing already available and we are working on further developments like the Expert Panel and the Health Strategies Database for Dogs, as well as breed specific tools to help owners, breeders, advisors, researchers, veterinarians - really all stakeholders in the crazy-wonderful world of genetic and genomic testing. [[link to Aimee's article]]
Warning - the complexities of genetic testing are not going to go away in the near future! Let's continue to work together for the health, well-being and welfare of our animal companions and the humans who wouldn't want to live without them. One Health!