Dog genome: All of the genetic information from the dog. The genetic first draft of the dog genome sequence was completed in 2004. A team led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., and Agencourt Bioscience Corp., Beverly, Mass., successfully assembled the genome of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). The breed of dog sequenced was the boxer, which was chosen after analyses of 60 dog breeds found it was one of the breeds with the least amount of variation in its genome and therefore likely to provide the most reliable reference genome sequence.
The dog genome is similar in size to the genomes of humans and other mammals, containing approximately 2.5 billion DNA base pairs. Due to a long history of selective breeding, many types of dogs are prone to genetic diseases that are difficult to study in humans, such as cancer, heart disease, deafness, blindness and autoimmune disorders. In addition, the dog is an important model for the genetics of behavior and is used extensively in pharmaceutical research.
To best characterize disease in dogs, it is important to have a sufficient number of markers in the genome. Therefore, in addition to the boxer, nine other dog breeds, four wolves and a coyote were sampled to generate markers that can be used in disease studies in any dog breed.