Bhussry Seminar Series Featuring Elaine A. Ostrander, PhD
Elaine A. Ostrander, PhD
Chief and Senior Investigator
Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
National Institutes of Health
Each of the nearly 450 dog breeds in existence today has a unique history and genetic profile. Early in domestication dogs were bred to perform specific behaviors such as herding, guarding and hunting. Later, fanciers developed hundreds of breeds, often displaying variation in body morphology, including shape and size in addition to coat color, skull shape, leg length, etc. We are interested in understanding the genetic underpinnings of that variation, and applying those results to studies of growth regulation, normal and abnormal behavior and disease susceptibility. We have therefore assembled the largest and most diverse dataset of dog breeds and other canines to date with canines originating from six continents, reflecting the extensive phenotypic variation and heritage that coalesce in modern dogs. Building a dataset of whole genome sequence from 722 dogs we have identified over 90 million single nucleotide variants for this purpose. In this presentation we explore the genetics underlying the evolutionary transition from wolf to domestic dog, highlighting genes that when mutated contribute cause breed—specific morphologic and behavioral differences.
Sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry