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Mars Petcare Looks To Pioneer Genetic Testing For Canine Eye Disorders

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Adding to its Wisdom Health division, Mars Petcare has bought OptiGen LLC. OptiGen specializes in canine inherited eye disorders, and the purchase will give Mars exclusive licenses to an extensive portfolio of genetic disease tests for pets that have been patented in the U.S., Australia and many European countries. Additionally, Mars now has access to a biobank of over 150,000 samples of various canine eye diseases that have been collected over the last 20 years, and according to a press release, Mars will use these samples to look for new genetic health markers for our furry friends.

Related: Pet Food Giant Mars Purchases VCA Hospital Chains for $7.7 Billion

Leonid Sudakov is president of Connected Solutions, which umbrellas the genetics division of Mars Petcare. He said that their scientists would continue to discover the genetic basis of pet health and diseases and the acquisition will allow personalized veterinary care for many pets. In doing so, he believes they are fulfilling their purpose of making ‘A Better World for Pets’ and hope to add many ground-breaking additions to the animal genetics field.

Now, the Wisdom Panel genetic test kits will be able to look for over 185 genetic disease mutations that can help breeders when looking for matches to ensure healthy and responsible offspring. Cynthia Cole is the general manager of Wisdom Health and says that DNA testing is the only way that carriers or affected puppies with late-onset forms of inherited eye disorders can be detected. They hope to work with breeders to decrease the number of dogs diagnosed as such, and believe that the acquisition will boost the animal genetic research field in a positive way for both prediction and treatment of disorders.

Related: Study: Discovery Made to Genetic Link in Dog Disc Disease

OptGen’s president Sue Pearce-Kelling says the purchase is a natural evolution of the company’s 20-year history of working with responsible breeders, owners, clubs and health registries worldwide. She says the combined commitment to giving the highest quality DNA testing for dogs and support of research looking to make eye disorders a thing of the past is one that will fit in excellently in the world of animal genetic research.

Mars Petcare also bought molecular diagnostics for companion animals company Genoscoper Laboratories earlier this year, as part of their growing effort to be a leader in the companion animal genetic research field.


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