OptiGen's 20th Anniversary Celebration!
A Bit of History and Perspective
Three Tiers of OptiGen Prices:
You will see on OptiGen's price page that we have reduced the former list of more than a dozen different
prices to a simplified three tier system. The three tiers reflect
different expenses that OptiGen bears for different tests, these costs
being primarily related to intellectual property, e.g. patent, licensing
and royalty expenses. A list of our current patent and license
obligations is available here.
Also, some tests are priced higher due to more expensive test methods
that an accurate detection of certain mutations requires in order to
meet OptiGen's stringent quality control standards. In some cases,
higher pricing reflects OptiGen's research investments that have led to
the mutation's discovery and our development of the test to begin with.
OptiGen continues to re-invest earnings into continuing research.
As a part of our mission to support research, OptiGen offers FREE DNA
testing and sample archiving for many diseases. Please contact us at any
time to learn more or to submit samples for research purposes.
We'll keep on doing what you like!
In spite of lowering the prices on our tests, OptiGen will continue
to provide all of the services you've come to rely on over the years--at
no extra cost to our clients--such as:
- Maintaining the highest quality of laboratory
services in the field, as evidenced by our achieving the rigorous,
independently-assessed ISO17025 accreditation
- Archiving small amounts of DNA on ALL samples so that more tests can usually be requested long after the sample was received.
- Offering a variety of discounts and savings opportunities.
- Supporting and advertising your event fundraisers and encouraging group discount pricing through our 20/20 clinic program
- Offering multiple reporting methods including email, fax and mailed formal reports
- Continuing close working relationships with a variety of foreign associate laboratories to assist our international customers
- Providing informed genetic counseling, test interpretation and education
- Regular reporting of statistics and/or test results to health registries and breed clubs.
Contact us to learn how your breed club can establish this service.
Remember that many health registries will only accept test results from licensed laboratories for those tests that are patented and licensed.
- Supplying cheek swab kits upon request
- And last but far from least....OptiGen staff will
continue to provide you with personal, friendly and professional
customer service. Just give us a call (607) 257-0301 or send us an email and we'll do our best to assist you!
Who would have thought way back in 1997 when OptiGen was first established that we would be here 20 years later still providing the best possible services in DNA testing for inherited diseases for concerned dog breeders? Yet here we are, still going strong and striving to earn our client's trust and appreciation. All of us at OptiGen greatly value the many relationships that have evolved with our clients in the past two decades. Your loyalty has kept us growing over the years and we are very pleased to both thank you and to mark this milestone by LOWERING our test prices.
From the start, OptiGen has played a pivotal role in supporting the
discovery of important disease causing mutations in dogs. In our
earliest days, we provided the first ever DNA tests for Progressive
Retinal Atrophy (PRA). If you ask any veteran dog breeder from a wide
variety of breeds such as the Portuguese Water Dogs, Labrador Retrievers
and Poodles -- to name just a few of the many breeds we now know carry
the prcd-PRA mutation—they will tell you how difficult the times were
before OptiGen’s DNA tests came to the rescue. The only way to determine
if a young dog (2-3 years of age) was affected by prcd-PRA, a “late
onset” form of PRA that typically does not show clinical signs in a
routine eye exam until dogs are more than 4 years old, was to have the
dog undergo Electroretinography (ERG), a costly procedure requiring
sedation. And most importantly, there was NO way to determine whether a
dog carried only one copy of the prcd-PRA mutation. The incidence of
PRA in some of these breeds would probably be shocking to many of
Then, in 1997, thanks to the decades of
research by two of OptiGen’s founders, Drs. Gus Aguirre and Greg
Acland, the first genetic markers that could predict the presence of the
prcd-PRA mutation with high accuracy were discovered. Their
breakthrough meant, finally, there was a diagnostic DNA test that,
although not perfect, could offer a huge advantage to breeders trying to
avoid producing pups that would develop PRA. Knowing that an academic
research laboratory was not the proper setting for the rigorous quality
controlled environment that a diagnostic laboratory demands, Drs.
Aguirre and Acland called on Dr. Jeanette Felix, a Ph.D. in human
genetics whose skills as a leader in administration of research
organizations such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness they had long
admired. With Dr. Felix at the helm, OptiGen was established in 1997 and
by 1998 OptiGen was offering a marker based test for prcd-PRA. Because
the genetic markers associated with the prcd mutation varied by breed,
each of the marker tests needed to be tailored to a each specific breed.
The first marker test was offered to Portuguese Water Dogs and the
following year OptiGen was able to refine and validate the markers and
allow testing for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, English Cocker Spaniels and
Labrador retrievers. In subsequent years, more breeds were validated
for the markers and added to OptiGen’s roster of test options. All
through this process, OptiGen was collaborating with the Aguirre and
Acland research team and over the years, as we moved closer and closer
to discovery of the mutation, the marker test got more and more
predictive. And then in 2005 the “Eureka!” that we had all been so
avidly working for occurred. The prcd-PRA mutation was discovered. From
that point on, OptiGen has offered the completely sensitive and specific
mutation-based test for prcd-PRA, a mutation we now realize is
incredibly widespread across more than 25 disparate pure breeds of dog.
The technology associated with the discovery of this important mutation
was patented by Cornell University Research Foundation and a worldwide
exclusive license to these patents was granted to OptiGen.
those early years when OptiGen only offered only a handful of DNA
tests, we have remained committed to advancing research on inherited
diseases of dogs and have added more than five dozen more tests to our
lineup. Each of these tests is offered with the utmost attention to
accuracy and validity. Each test is run with known reference controls from
dogs that are known to carry 0,1, or 2 copies of the specific mutation
and each test is run with a redundant alternative method to ensure the
highest possible accuracy.
It should be noted that some
tests that are sold by other laboratories don’t make the cut at OptiGen.
If the test does not meet the standards of OptiGen’s scientific
advisors, for example if the correlation between test result and disease
is too low, OptiGen does not offer the test. OptiGen also restricts the
routine sale of tests to only those breeds where we have evidence that
the mutation being tested is known to occur. This is done in an effort
to help clients select only the tests that are most likely to provide
useful information. We make exceptions upon request and in the process
help counsel the owners on DNA tests that are available and known to be
important for their specific breed. OptiGen continues to work closely
with a variety of academic canine geneticists as well as with concerned
breeders and breed clubs with the goal of continuing to advance our
understanding of inherited diseases and to help breeders prevent them
through DNA testing.
Stay Tuned! Starting this year, OptiGen will be reaching out via social media and quarterly newsletters that you may subscribe to...more on that soon---we'll be in touch! As always, please let us know what we can do to improve. We're here to serve you!
Susan Pearce-Kelling (Sue P-K)
President & Manager