Dog Genome Assembled|
Canine Genome Now Available to Research Community Worldwide
Bethesda, Maryland The first draft of the dog genome sequence
has been deposited into free public databases for use by biomedical
and veterinary researchers around the globe, the National Human
Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), announced today.
A team led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute
of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., and Agencourt Bioscience Corp.,
Beverly, Mass., successfully assembled the genome of the domestic
dog (Canis familiaris). The breed of dog sequenced was the
boxer, which was chosen after analyses of 60 dog breeds found it
was one of the breeds with the least amount of variation in its
genome and therefore likely to provide the most reliable reference
The initial assembly is based on seven-fold coverage of the dog
genome. Researchers can access the sequence data through the following
public databases: GenBank (http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/Genbank)
at NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI); EMBL
at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's Nucleotide Sequence
Database; and the DNA Data Bank of Japan (www.ddbj.nig.ac.jp).
The data can also be viewed through the UCSC Genome Browser (http://www.genome.ucsc.edu/)
at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Ensembl Genome
Browser (www.ensembl.org) at
the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England. Viewing
capabilities also will be available in August at NCBI's Map Viewer
The NHGRI-supported researchers are currently comparing the dog
and human genome sequences and plan to publish results of their
analysis in the next several months.
The dog genome is similar in size to the genomes of humans and
other mammals, containing approximately 2.5 billion DNA base pairs.
Due to a long history of selective breeding, many types of dogs
are prone to genetic diseases that are difficult to study in humans,
such as cancer, heart disease, deafness, blindness and autoimmune
disorders. In addition, the dog is an important model for the genetics
of behavior and is used extensively in pharmaceutical research.
To best characterize disease in dogs, it is important to have a
sufficient number of markers in the genome. Therefore, in addition
to the boxer, nine other dog breeds, four wolves and a coyote were
sampled to generate markers that can be used in disease studies
in any dog breed. A preliminary set of about 600,000 single nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs), which amounts to a SNP roughly every 5,000
DNA base pairs, is currently being aligned to the released assembly.
The reads used to identify the SNPs are publicly available in NCBI's
Trace Archive (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Traces/trace.cgi)
and the SNPs will be available shortly at the Single Nucleotide
Polymorphism database, dbSNP (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/SNP/).
Sequencing of the dog genome began in June 2003. NHGRI provided
about $30 million in funding for the project to the Broad Institute,
which is part of NHGRI's Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network.
To learn more about the rapidly expanding field of comparative
genomic analysis, go to: www.genome.gov/10005835.
To read the white paper that outlines the scientific rationale and
strategy for sequencing the dog genome, go to: http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/Sequencing/SeqProposals/CanineSEQedited.pdf.
A high-resolution photo of Tasha, the boxer whose DNA was sequenced,
is available at: http://www.genome.gov/11007323.
NHGRI is one of 27 institutes and centers at NIH, an agency
of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI Division
of Extramural Research supports grants for research and for training
and career development at sites nationwide. Information about NHGRI
can be found at: www.genome.gov.