Scientists are utilizing information found in two mutated genes in two different viking breed dogs to help not only the canines in the fight against blindness but humans as well. 

After hearing of a rise in deteriorating eyesight in a rare breed known as the Swedish Vallhund, researchers traveled many miles, testing hundreds of dogs for their genomes. They narrowed it down to a mutational defect on a gene known as MERTK (c-mer proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase) which causes slow atrophy of the retina. By marking this gene breeders can effectively stop the spread of the mutation.

Another viking breed, the Norwegian Elkhound, was also studied and found to have a mutation on a gene known as the ADAMTS10 gene that cases glaucoma. Again, marking this gene helps breeders identify the mutation and prevent passing it along the bloodlines. 

With the anatomy and gene shaping of canine eyes similar to humans, these studies, and the therapies they will give rise to, gives seeing eye dog a whole new light.

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