Even as the genetic blueprint for Shadow the poodle was being completed in Maryland, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had been engaged in a long-term study that they hope will add functional gene information to the dog genome as well as benefit both canine and human health.
The still-in-progress Illinois study, in which researchers are measuring the effects of diet on gene expression in both weanling and geriatric dogs, is described in a paper in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition. The scientists use their study as an example of how the use of emerging molecular tools, in general, will unlock the functional aspects of the genes being mapped in a variety of genomes.
"Genome sequencing allows us to understand health across animals," said Lawrence B. Schook, a professor of animal sciences and veterinary pathobiology at Illinois. "Dogs, like humans, get diseases associated with lifestyles. Thus not exercising and over-eating can result in obesity and diabetes. Information about human diseases can be used to treat dogs, and understanding dog diseases can be used to treat humans."
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
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