Ithaca, N.Y. -- Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and the James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine are reporting the development of a framework reference map of the canine genome. The article appears in today's issue of Genomics, published by the Academic Press.
The ultimate goal of canine genome research is to find all the genes in the DNA sequence of dogs and make this information available to others to develop tools to better diagnose disease well before the appearance of symptoms. It is believed that dog genetics offers the hope of discovering the genetic basis of both development and behavior in a variety of mammalian species including human.
"The notion of a canine genetic map had been proposed by the genetics community years ago; over the last three years we developed the markers to serve as the cornerstone of the map," said Elaine Ostrander, Ph.D., lead investigator and molecular biologist, Hutchinson Center." Cornell became the catalyst that allowed assembly of the map to begin in earnest two years ago."
"We were able to provide a number of highly informative pedigrees of dogs that, for several years, had been bred specifically for genetic studies such as these," said Gustavo Aguirre, V.M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and director of the Center for Canine Genetics and Reproduction at Baker Institute.
The map covers most of the canine genome and represents a major step toward the completion of a more comprehensive canine genetic map. It was constructed from 150 highly informative markers, known as microsatellite markers, developed by the Ostrander group and typed on informative pedigrees developed by the Cornell team. The linkage panel used included information from 17 three-generation pedigrees with genetically distinct backgrounds, a total of 212 individuals.