Scientists fetch useful information from dog genome publications

Today a plethora of dog genome-related materials are published, including a new book entitled The Dog and Its Genome and a series of primary research articles in the journal Genome Research. These publications, concomitant with the publication by Nature of a high-quality draft sequence of the dog genome, are expected to provide both researchers and the public with informative resources about canine genomics and biology.

"Canine genetics has entered a period of unprecedented growth and discovery," explain Drs. Elaine Ostrander and Francis Galibert in their Foreword to The Dog and Its Genome. "The dog is now set to take its rightful place as a valued system for genetic studies along with the mouse, rat, and several insect species."

Phenotypic variation among dog breeds, whether it be in size, shape, or behavior, is greater than for any other animal. Because of this diversity, the dog has attracted enormous interest as a model organism for genome plasticity. In addition, dogs are susceptible to genetic diseases that are difficult to study in humans, including cancer, blindness, heart disease, deafness, autoimmune disorders, and neurological diseases, making the dog model system particularly useful in medical and pharmaceutical research.

The Dog and Its Genome puts these and other aspects of the dog into context and focus. In the book's 26 chapters, dog experts cover morphological and behavioral variation in dogs, their origins and domestication, and characteristics of their genome. Chapters are devoted to discussing the genetic basis of canine diseases, as well as health initiatives aimed at curing diseases in dogs by approaches that include genetic testing and gene therapy. The book also deals with the history of dog breeds, the American Kennel Club, dog shows, and dogs as helpers.

How canine chromosomes crumble

In a special dog genome section of the journal Genome Researc

Contact: Maria A. Smit
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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