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$17M EU Project to Study Dog Genomes to Gain Insight into Human Disease

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The European Commission has awarded €12 million ($16.9 million) to a consortium of European research centers through 2012 to conduct genome-wide association studies on several dog breeds in hopes of gaining a better understanding of human diseases.
 
The program, called Lupa, is funded under the EC’s Seventh Framework Program. It involves 20 veterinary schools in 12 European nations that will collect 10,000 DNA samples from purebred dog species that have genetic diseases and from healthy dogs.
 
The researchers will compare the genomes of healthy and diseased dogs within single breeds to identify SNPs that could help target genes responsible for any of 18 different diseases, including cancer and heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and neurological disorders.
 
“We have decided to focus on certain areas and to standardize the characterization of these diseases,” Uppsala University Professor Leif Andersson said in a statement from the EC.
 
Some of the breeds involved in the project include the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd for cancer studies, the English Cocker Spaniel for aggressive behavior, the Doberman and Boxer for hypothyroid diseases, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds for cardiovascular disorders, and the Greyhound and Collie as part of a monogenic disorders package.

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