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Best Friend, Best Model

Veterinary and human medicine are merging due to the completion of both the dog and human genomes, writes Elaine Ostrander from the National Institutes of Health in a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dogs, she adds, are good models in which to study diseases — especially cancer — because most breeds were developed fairly recently, they descend from just a few founders, and have been under pressure from breeders to the point that recessive diseases are common and many breed are susceptible to certain disorders. Further, "the dog genome is very similar to humans," Ostrander tells HealthDay. "It's closer to us than the genomes of mice, rats or fruit flies, which are often used in research. Dogs also live side-by-side in our environments with us; they drink the same water, they breathe the same air, they're exposed to the same pesticides and they often even eat some of the same food."

The Scan

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