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13 The Canine Genome

Elaine A. Ostrander, Robert K. Wayne


As one of the premier journals in genome biology celebrates its 10th anniversary, the scientific community studying dogs also enjoys a year of major advances and milestones, particularly with regard to canine genomics and comparative genetics. In July of 2004, the first high-quality draft (7.5×) sequence of the Boxer dog was made publicly available (Lindblad-Toh et al. 2005). This advance followed on the heels of other major milestones in the past several months, including the availability of a 1.5× Poodle sequence (Kirkness et al. 2003), a dense high quality radiation hybrid (RH) map (Breen et al. 2004), a detailed comparative map (Hitte et al. 2005), the localization and cloning of several disease genes, the successful application of dogs for gene therapy studies (Howell et al. 1997; Acland et al. 2001; Mount et al. 2002; Ponder et al. 2002), and new insights into the evolution of dogs and dog breeds (Parker et al. 2004).

As a result, the genome community is well poised to take advantage of the canine system and begin to fulfill some of the expectations advanced nearly 15 yr ago. First, with the development of appropriate molecular resources, the canine system was proposed to hold the power to map and clone disease genes that had proven intractable through studies of human families. Second, the variation in size and skeletal proportions that are segregated into distinct breeds of dog was hypothesized to provide a unique resource for dissecting genetic pathways underlying skeletal development. Finally, the range of behavioral traits...

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