A boxer was chosen as the first dog to have its complete genome sequenced. After testing certain genetic markers in a host of dogs suggested by dog clubs and veterinary schools, geneticists selected the breed because its high degree of inbreeding simplifies the sequencing process.
A female boxer named Tasha is the first domestic dog (Canis familiaris) to have its entire genome sequenced. Geneticists led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh of The Broad Institute in Massachusetts sequenced the 2.4 billion letters of Tasha's DNA, representing 39 chromosome pairs. Great Danes and Chihuahuas may look a great deal different, but their genomes are 99.85% similar, say the researchers, who took DNA samples from ten more breeds to better understand the genetic differences that underlie the differences in appearances. Lindblad-Toh and her colleagues also compiled a catalogue of 2.5 million 'single-nucleotide polymorphisms'- sites where single-letter changes occur in the DNA sequence - which should help to identify the mechanisms underlying more complex traits like behavior and susceptibility to diseases. Because there are several hundred genetic disorders shared between dogs and humans, the dog genome could help researchers identify human disease genes. More from nature.com
More from The National Human Genome Research Institute: www.genome.gov
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