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DNA Test for Cerebellar Ataxia in the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) and as of 2/12/2010 the American Pit Bull Terrier

ANTAGENE, a DNA research laboratory in France, has commercialized a DNA test that detects
Cerebellar Ataxia in American Staffordshire Terriers (AmStaff).  OptiGen is pleased to assist North American owners of Amstaffs who wish to test their dog’s DNA for cerebellar ataxia. To make this test more convenient for these clients, OptiGen is serving as an agent for Antagene, by rendering blood or cheek swab samples into DNA and shipping the DNA to Antagene.  Antagene owns the international license for testing cerebellar ataxia (patent pending) in the Amstaff and will perform the DNA testing in their laboratory in France. OptiGen will obtain the results of the test from Antagene as soon as the tests are completed and send reports to the owners.  To order the cerebellar ataxia (NCL-A) DNA test go to order test.

PLEASE NOTE: The Cerebellar Ataxia (NCL-A) test is performed in the laboratories of Antagene in France. There is typically a 3-4 week delay after OptiGen receives a sample before NCL-A test results are available for reporting.

Cerebellar Ataxia is an autosomal recessive neurological disease. The first signs of the disease usually appear between 3 and 5 years of age in affected dogs. They are:  loss of balance, difficulty cornering, and falling when shaking their head. As the signs progress, most dogs seem to have difficulty initiating movements.  When they became unable to walk without falling repeatedly, owners usually make the difficult choice to euthanize.

The Antagene Cerebellar Ataxia (NCL-A) test detects the mutant, defective gene copy and the normal gene copy. The result of the test is a genotype and allows separation of dogs into three groups: Normal/Clear (homozygous normal), Carrier (heterozygous) and Affected (homozygous mutated). 

Possible results using the Cerebellar Ataxia test in the AmStaff


Genetic status

Will develop
the disease?

Will transmit
the anomaly?

 Homozygous Normal

This dog has two normal copies
of the Amstaff cerebellar ataxia gene.




This dog has one normal copy and 
one defective copy of the Amstaff
cerebellar ataxia gene.


statistically to 50%
of its offspring

Mutated homozygous

This dog has two defective copies of
the Amstaff cerebellar ataxia gene.


to 100% of its progeny


Test reliability:
Sensitivity - Probability of correct identification of the defective form of the gene implied in the cerebellar ataxia in heterozygous or mutated homozygous dog is higher than 99%.
Specificity - Probability of correct identification of the normal form of the gene implied in the cerebellar ataxia in a normal homozygous or heterozygous dog is higher than 99%.


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Tel: 607 257 0301 · Fax: 607 257 0353 · email: or
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