2013 Broad Newsletter
Airedale Health Research
Why is it easy to find disease genes in dogs?
Domesticated dogs split from their wolf ancestors approximately 30,000 years ago, while most breeds were created only a
few hundred years ago. In the process of breeding dogs for certain desired traits, over successive generations, many genetic
mutations have inadvertently come along for the ride with undesirable side effects. This includes a genetic predisposition
to many common diseases ranging from epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, and hip problems as well as more breed-specific conditions.
We use dogs to study diseases because the disease genes are much easier to find. To find disease genes for complex
diseases in humans, thousands of people and millions of genomic markers (SNPs) are needed. In dogs, 20,000 markers and a few
hundred dogs will suffice to find genes for complex diseases like cancer. With you and your dog's help in donating blood samples
(for cancers, both a blood and a tumor sample are helpful), we are hoping to continue to identify these risk factors in many
more diseases which will help us to understand the overall health risks for your dog and humans alike.
To donate a blood sample from your dog please
click here for instructions and our consent form.
- European and Australian Airedale Blood Sample Submission
Information. We have satellite laboratories that will take your dogs' blood samples for our Bank. Click here for the address.
If you have additional questions, please contact:
Once again, thank you for participating in this important research - you are contributing to the betterment of future
"Since completing the sequencing of the canine genome, the real bottleneck to understanding inheritance
of disease and how to breed away from it is in getting blood samples from dogs." Kerstin Lindblad-Toh.
Dr. Lindblad-Toh leads the dog disease-mapping group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She and her research team
are mapping over 20 diseases in the canine including cancer, autoimmune, cardiac, and neurological diseases.
Not Sure How Research Helps
Improve our Dogs' Health? Read this:
Test Helps Dalmations:
This is just
one example of many on how Research Helps Breeders Breed Healthier Dogs:
The Molecular Basis for Hyperuricosuria in the Dalmation Dog
Bladder stone disease is a painful
problem for dogs and it can sometimes require multiple surgeries. Researchers set out to determine the gene mutation that
is responsible for an inherited trait in Dalmatians that predisposes them to form bladder stones. They successfully identified
the location of the gene and discovered multiple mutations. These results also showed that other breeds, namely the Bulldog
and Black Russian Terrier, have the same mutation as the Dalmatian. In addition, other breeds appear to have the mutation
at a lower frequency. A DNA based test has been developed from this work and is now available to dog breeders and veterinarians
to make better, informed breeding decisions. The discovery of the gene mutation will allow breeders the opportunity to
eliminate this condition from all dogs. The test is available by contacting University of California, Davis. This fellowship
training grant was the basis for a promising young researcher's PhD thesis.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Noa Safra, University