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Poodle’s genetic code will help medical research


LAST WEEK the journal Science carried a report from America about the genetic code of the dog being ‘cracked’ by Dr Craig Venter and Dr Ewen Kirkness of The Institute for Genomic Reasearch and colleagues there and at The Centre for the Advancement of Genomics, TCAG, in Rockville, Maryland.

Dr Venter used his own black Standard Poodle’s DNA to map the code which will lead to a greater understanding of the genes that contribute to canine diseases and will also shed light on human disease.

The study has recognised 974,400 common variations in the dog’s genetic code which will help the scientists and geneticists to understand the differences in the 400 plus recognised canine breeds and groups throughout the world.

Specific

The analysis showed that the ‘letters’ spelt out by the code in dogs totalled 2,500 million compared to 3,000 million in humans.

Speaking after the report was picked up by the national press Dr Kirkness said, ‘the data provides the genomic infrastructure that is necessary to identify the genetic basis of many inherited disorders suffered by dogs. The resulting capacity to identify genes that pre-dispose dogs to specific ailments will be of interest to many dogs owners and breeders.’

continued on pg 2 the inherited diseases identified 360 have human counterparts. Dogs and humans also share 650 million ‘letters’ and the research revealed an equivalent dog gene for three quarters of known human genes.

commenting on the news story earlier this week Dr Jeff Sampson the Kennel Club Genetics Co-ordinator said:-

‘The most recent issue of the scientific magazine, Science, contains a paper reporting the first published DNA sequence of the canine genome, the DNA sequence of each and every gene in the dog, together with all of the ancillary DNA that separates these genes on the dog’s chromosomes. The work was undertaken by scientists that were heavily involved in the private sector efforts to sequence the human genome. Using DNA from Dr Craig Venter’s poodle they have determined the DNA sequence of approximately 80% of the canine genome.

‘Because of the nature of the approach taken, this new sequence will contain some errors since it only represents a one-times read through of the DNA sequence. Inevitably, this means that there will be reading errors scattered throughout the sequence. A more accurate sequence will be produced by combining the results of more independent read throughs from the same DNA template. Each extra read through will highlight previous errors that can be corrected. This more extensive sequencing project, funded by the National Institutes for Health in the USA, is well underway and we hope to get the more accurate DNA sequence in the very near future. Nonetheless, this newly published sequence will have value and be useful in studying inherited diseases and the genes that cause them in the dog.

‘However, the real excitement for all of us is that in the very near future we will have accurate DNA sequence of the canine genome and this information will provide new ways of identifying the genes that are responsible for inherited diseases in the dog. It will greatly facilitate the search for those single genes that cause inherited disease, but, more importantly, it will offer new resources to identify multiple, different genes involved in diseases like cancer, heart disease, hip dysplasia and epilespy.’

Of the inherited diseases identified 360 have human counterparts. Dogs and humans also share 650 million ‘letters’ and the research revealed an equivalent dog gene for three quarters of known human genes.

commenting on the news story earlier this week Dr Jeff Sampson the Kennel Club Genetics Co-ordinator said:-

Private sector

‘The most recent issue of the scientific magazine, Science, contains a paper reporting the first published DNA sequence of the canine genome, the DNA sequence of each and every gene in the dog, together with all of the ancillary DNA that separates these genes on the dog’s chromosomes. The work was undertaken by scientists that were heavily involved in the private sector efforts to sequence the human genome. Using DNA from Dr Craig Venter’s poodle they have determined the DNA sequence of approximately 80% of the canine genome.

‘Because of the nature of the approach taken, this new sequence will contain some errors since it only represents a one-times read through of the DNA sequence. Inevitably, this means that there will be reading errors scattered throughout the sequence. A more accurate sequence will be produced by combining the results of more independent read throughs from the same DNA template. Each extra read through will highlight previous errors that can be corrected. This more extensive sequencing project, funded by the National Institutes for Health in the USA, is well underway and we hope to get the more accurate DNA sequence in the very near future. Nonetheless, this newly published sequence will have value and be useful in studying inherited diseases and the genes that cause them in the dog.

Excitement

‘However, the real excitement for all of us is that in the very near future we will have accurate DNA sequence of the canine genome and this information will provide new ways of identifying the genes that are responsible for inherited diseases in the dog. It will greatly facilitate the search for those single genes that cause inherited disease, but, more importantly, it will offer new resources to identify multiple, different genes involved in diseases like cancer, heart disease, hip dysplasia and epilespy.’