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Mapping canine genes and pathways to leverage personalized treatment options

Final Report Summary - K9GENES (Mapping canine genes and pathways to leverage personalized treatment options)

The search for genetic risk factors underlying human common disease and cancer has been complicated by the fact that many risk factors of small effect contribute to the disease, and that many loci identified by genome-wide association mapping fall outside protein-coding genes. The pet dog offers a complementary approach to association studies in humans; it can be highly effective based on a unique breed structure that has led to the enrichment of risk factors of stronger effect within breeds. As in humans, many of the associated regions fall outside protein coding genes and most likely represent regulatory mutations. Furthermore, clinical trials can be performed quickly and effectively in the dog and together with common strong risk factors may allow the piloting of personalized treatment options.

For this project, we have focused on collecting samples and performing association studies for different diseases as well as behavior. We have analyzed (or are in the process of analyzing) mammary tumors, osteosarcoma, atopic dermatitis, thyroiditis as well as behavior for at least three breeds per disease. We have found novel regions/genes associated in disease and have been following up the functional consequences of candidate mutations. In the long term, these biological discoveries could help understand and potentially test for and treat these diseases.