The dog genome map and its use in mammalian comparative genomics
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The dog genome organization was extensively studied in the last ten years. The most important achievements are the well-developed marker genome maps, including over 3200 marker loci, and a survey of the DNA genome sequence. This knowledge, along with the most advanced map of the human genome, turned out to be very useful in comparative genomic studies. On the one hand, it has promoted the development of marker genome maps of other species of the family Canidae (red fox, arctic fox, Chinese raccoon dog) as well as studies on the evolution of their karyotype. But the most important approach is the comparative analysis of human and canine hereditary diseases. At present, causative gene mutations are known for 30 canine hereditary diseases. A majority of them have human counterparts with similar clinical and molecular features. Studies on identification of genes having a major impact on some multifactorial diseases (hip dysplasia, epilepsy) and cancers (multifocal renal cystadenocarcinoma and nodular dermatofibrosis) are advanced. Very promising are the results of gene therapy for certain canine monogenic diseases (haemophilia, hereditary retinal dystrophy, mucopolysaccharidosis), which have human equivalents. The above-mentioned examples prove a very important model role of the dog in studies of human genetic diseases. On the other hand, the identification of gene mutations responsible for hereditary diseases has a substantial impact on breeding strategy in the dog.
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M. Switonski, Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding, August Cieszkowski Agricultural University, ul. Wolynska 33, 60-637 Poznan, Poland