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Why start the project now?

How will it work?

What are the short-term benefits to the Canine Phenome project?

How can I participate in the Canine Phenome Project?

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What will the long-term
benefits be?

In the past decade technological advances have lead to spectacular accomplishments in molecular genetics and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. The quest to find the genetic risk factors for common and complex human medical problems such as idiopathic epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, and type II diabetes has spurred the identification of over three million polymorphic sites in the human genome. There is now a high stakes race to develop microarray technology to make use of a large subset of the these polymorphic sites and it is likely that within a few years it will be possible to analyze DNA samples using many thousands of DNA markers simultaneously and inexpensively. Although this technology is being developed to analyze human DNA, it should work equally well for analyzing DNA from dogs. In the next few years when the technology is improved, it should possible to use many of the over a half a million identified from the Canine Genome Project as markers to discover the genes influencing a wide variety of canine characteristics and behaviors. This, however, will only be possible if the fundamental phenotypic characteristics from a large number of dogs are described and recorded in a format that is compatible with computer tests designed to detect genotype/phenotype associations. Rather than waiting until the genotyping technology is perfected, we want to start collecting the phenotypic data by beginning the Canine Phenome Project now so that the required phenotypic information will already be available when the genotyping technology is ready. This should lead to the development of DNA markers to help dog breeders consistently produce litters that are free of heritable diseases and other undesired behaviors and characteristics.

Click here for a printable Acrobat document explaining the Phenome Project

MU College of Veterinary Medicine OFA

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