The genetic defect that causes hereditary blistering disorders of the skin, known as epidermolysis bullosa, in both humans and the Central Asian Shepherd Dog has been identified as being the same. The defective gene causes the skin to be easily damaged resulting in abrasion and blistering. There are four different types of the disorder, simplex, junctional, dystrophic and Kindler syndrome.
The defective gene causes a lack of collagen between two layers of skin. Without the collagen, the skin will blister.
Thanks to the gene researchers at the University of Helsinki, Marjo Hytönen, a member of the research group led by Professor Hannes Lohi and pathological tests conducted by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, the defective gene was confirmed.
As a result, tests can be conducted on members of the Central Asian Shepherd Dog allowing breeders to select only those dogs that do not have the defective gene as part of a breeding program. Hopefully, researchers will be able to find a cure for humans.