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Weekly News Roundup 9/11 to 9/17

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Scientists cloned an endangered Przewalski’s horse for the first time, and it could save the species

A little baby horse named Kurt is a symbol of renewed hope for the survival of his kind. Born on August 6, 2020, he is the world’s first ever successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse, an endangered wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia. What makes Kurt even more exciting is that he was cloned from genetic material cryopreserved 40 years ago—reviving genetic diversity thought to have been lost decades ago. “This colt is expected to be one of the most genetically important individuals of his species,” said zoologist Bob Wiese, PhD, MS, chief life sciences officer at San Diego Zoo Global. “We are hopeful that he will bring back genetic variation important for the future of the Przewalski’s horse population.” . . . more

Purdue launches league of veterinary superheroes to diversify the profession

Role models can help children see themselves in a future career, and a new initiative at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is helping develop veterinary medical role models every child can relate to. The college has launched a new organization called the League of VetaHumanz, an inclusive veterinary superhero league working with member universities and organizations to diversify the veterinary workforce, which is more than 90% white, and provide underserved youth access and support to pursue careers in the veterinary field. The league will feature role models as superheroes, called VetaHumanz, in academia, practice, research, government, and industry, and provide resources for veterinary students to engage with children in their communities after graduation. . . . more  

Possible genetic link found between hypothyroidism and canine T-zone lymphoma

A genetic mutation might be the reason dogs with hypothyroidism are less likely to develop T-zone lymphoma (TZL). That’s the finding from Morris Animal Foundation–funded researchers at Colorado State University who tried to identify genetic risk factors for TZL using a genome-wide association study and subsequent targeted sequencing. They recently published their results in the journal BMC Genomics. The published study is a follow up to a 2019 publication from the same team that examined associations of environment and health history among golden retrievers with TZL. . . . more

VCA appoints new chief medical officer

VCA Animal Hospitals announced the appointment of Marie Kerl, DVM, MPH, DACVIM, DACVECC, as its new chief medical officer, effective immediately. Kerl is now joining VCA’s senior leadership team in Los Angeles. “Dr. Kerl brings a wealth of education and experience to her new position, a critical role for VCA as she leads the medical teams and represents the organization within the veterinary profession and Mars Veterinary Health,” said Todd Lavender, DVM, president of VCA Animal Hospitals and Petcare Services. “She joined our VCA family in 2017 as regional medical director and then later moved into a combined regional medical director/regional operations director role, prior to her most recent leadership promotion.”. . . more

Labradoodle study reveals dogs are actually mostly poodle

It’s what some owners may already have suspected of their bouncing, curly coated pets, but now research has confirmed it: Australian labradoodles are light on the lab and heavy on the poodle. The distinctive name was coined in 1989 by Wally Conron, an Australian who bred a Labrador retriever with a poodle to create a guide dog suitable for people with allergies or asthma. While the resulting puppy, Sultan, was not the first such mix, Conron’s efforts led to a nascent breed. Conron later voiced regret, saying: “I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster,” noting that unethical breeders were producing crosses with health problems. Now, researchers have examined the genetics of the Australian labradoodle, revealing that the dogs are mostly poodle. . . . more