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Analysis of dog genome assists the understanding of human health

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Analysis of dog genome assists the understanding of human health Ever thought of how resembling and how close you and your pet dog can be? Dogs not only share the same air, same water, the same house or even the same bed with humans (Clarke, Toni.2005), they also exhibit similarities in genes and diseases with humans. Here are some examples of numerous diseases that we share with dogs: Cancer, deafness, blindness, heart disease, epilepsy etc. Scientists therefore believe that decoding dog's genome will provide helpful information in developing cures for the diseases in both species. Much work has been done over the past few years to discover which specific gene on a particular chromosome is responsible for a special type of disease. The Dog Genome Project is currently the most popular program carried out at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which is "part of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Large-scale Research Network" (National Institutes of Health, 2005). Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre was initially involved, now taken over by the NHGRI. This project is applied by scientist as the model system and aims to map and clone the genes of dogs in order for research in cancer and genetic work. Gene mapping is the process that centres the whole genome project. This practise is defined as "the determination of the sequence of genes and their relative distances from one another on a specific chromosome" (The American Heritage(r) ...read more.


Genetic markers would usually contain some defined properties; they are described as "locus-specific, polymorphic and easily genotyped" (Georges, Michel & Coppleters, Wouter 2000) and researchers very much appreciate this tool in tracking down a specific gene's location. '"Humans and dogs have essentially the same genes," said by Krestin Lindblad-Toh the co-director of genome sequencing and analysis program from Broad Institute' (Klaphan, Karen, 2005). This statement can be supported evidently by "their complete genetic map of a twelve-year-old inbred boxer, named Tasha" (Clarke, Toni, 2005). The team at The Broad Institute successfully decoded the whole sequence of Tasha and according to this an association is found "between the DNA of Canis familiaris and Homo sapiens" (Kaplan, Karen 2005). However, there are millions of dogs feasible for this project, why did they choose Tasha? Simply she fit into the two key concept researchers looked for: First is that the subject has to be in female gender with two X chromosome. Secondly, the subject should show least variation in their genes, so that work can be done with less complication and can therefore minimise error. As described from above, genes are composed of DNA and the subunits that make up DNA are the single nucleic acid with an organic base. There are four different bases of the nucleic acid, represented by letters A, T, C and G. ...read more.


There are a few reasons scientists believe that it is worth spending a lot of time, effort and money to investigate the dog genome project. Mice are the common subjects being tested in laboratories. However, according to 'The Boston Globe', results of cancer experiments from mice are artificial and therefore are less reliable. It brought up an issue that laboratories mice did not get cancer naturally; they were "injected with tumor cells, showered with chemicals" thus the outcome does not "reflect what is going on in the body of a person" who has always lived healthily (Herskovits, Zara 2005). On the other hand, dogs share almost all their lives with human, they live in the same environment as we do and "they get spontaneous cancers the way humans do" (Herskovits, Zara 2005). It is also easier to examine canine's genetics due to inbreeding. Purebred species are genetically comparable to each other "which makes it easier for researchers to spot genes that are different between the healthy and sick animals" (Herskovits, Zara 2005). Besides, record-keeping for purebred-dogs are better than for humans. Overall, using canine's genome as a model system hopefully has provided a framework of what sort of work geneticists and scientists had been undergoing. In the coming future, researchers are planning to pin down more and more of the disease gene especially the caner-causing gene and genes that causes many inherited diseases in canines and humans. Thus better medication and health services can be provided to the affected patients in both species. ...read more.

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