Articles Index/Breeding
Posted 08/31/08

Broad Institute Maps Disease Genes in Dogs Research May Apply to Humans

While many of us are familiar with research efforts taking place in veterinary schools throughout the country ... and with the efforts of the Canine Health Foundation ... there are other efforts underway with which we may not be as familiar.

The Canine Genome Sequencing Project (based at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Boston) has sequenced the dog genome. Now, scientists there are using this important new resource to find genes for dog diseases such as hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma and others.

By searching for regions of the genome that differ between healthy dogs and sick dogs, carrier testing will be possible.

"Dogs are a unique species, domesticated and bred by humans who selected for traits like shape, size, color, and personality," says Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, co-director of the Broad Institute's Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program. "In addition to conserving desired traits, the selective breeding of dogs may make rare disease mutations common in a breed."

While dogs and humans often share the same living spaces, they are also susceptible to many of the same illnesses, including cancer, epilepsy and diabetes. And since the two species share much of their DNA, efforts to pinpoint the genetic underpinnings of dog diseases have the potential to deepen the knowledge of diseases in humans.

The Broad Institute is collecting DNA from all dog breeds so that it can continue to search for genes responsible for many different diseases including early onset kidney failure, melanoma, Mast Cell tumors, mammary tumors and lymphoma as well as hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma.

For more information on how you may be able to help, contact the Institute at: Dog Genome Project, Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142 or visit their website at

Information provided by: The Broad Institute and ScienceDaily.

ANTIC, December, 2007


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