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."
Genetics Goes to the Dogs
Aug 26, 2010