An international research team led by scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard announced today the completion of a high-quality genome sequence of the domestic dog, together with a catalog of 2.5 million specific genetic differences across several dog breeds. Published in the December 8 issue of Nature, the dog research sheds light on both the genetic similarities between dogs and humans and the genetic differences between dog breeds. Comparison of the dog and human DNA reveals key secrets about the regulation of the master genes that control embryonic development. Comparison among dogs also reveals the structure of genetic variation among breeds, which can now be used to unlock the basis of physical and behavioral differences, as well the genetic underpinnings of diseases common to domestic dogs and their human companions.
"Of the more than 5,500 mammals living today, dogs are arguably the most remarkable," said senior author Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute, professor of biology at MIT and systems biology at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "The incredible physical and behavioral diversity of dogs -- from Chihuahuas to Great Danes is encoded in their genomes. It can uniquely help us understand embryonic development, neurobiology, human disease and the basis of evolution."
Similarities to humans
Dogs not only occupy a special place in human hearts, they also sit at a key branch point in the evolutionary tree relative to humans. By tracking evolution's genetic footprints through the dog, human and mouse genomes, the scientists found that humans share more of their ancestral DNA with dogs than with mice, confirming the utility of dog genetics for understanding human disease.
Most importantly, the comparison revealed the regions of the human genome that are most highly preserved across mammals. Roughly 5% of the human genome has been well preserved byPage: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: Michelle Nhuch, Broad Institute
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
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