Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Genetics Goes to the Dogs

Nature News this week examines an increase in the use of dogs as neurogenetics research subjects. Jonathan Flint at the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics tells Nature's David Cyranoski that searching for genes that cause psychiatric problems in humans has proven to be "hard work with slim pickings." Cyranoski says that because of their more than 200-year-history of selective inbreeding, it's "relatively easy to track down the genes responsible" in dogs. "They are the only naturally occurring models of psychiatric disorders, and perfect for genetic mapping and cloning. It's just beautiful," MIT's Guoping Feng says. According to Nature News, "excitement over dog models has been spreading" and "compulsive disorders may be among the first successes in unravelling human behavioural conditions through dogs." The National Human Genome Research Institute's Elaine Ostrander told Cyranoski that "for 10,000 years, dog has been man's best friend. ... Now, in the genomic era, dog is serving man again by helping us identify genes."

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.