Dog research featured on TV's NOVA

Leah Eisenstadt, November 18th, 2010 | Filed under
  • Image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/GlobalP

A recent episode of PBS's NOVA series features the Broad Institute and researcher Elinor Karlsson. The program, Dogs Decoded, offers a scientific view of how dogs evolved from wolves, how their species is uniquely connected to ours, and what researchers are learning about human disease by studying dog genomes.

Elinor and her colleagues are poring through the DNA of different dog breeds to find genetic sources of diseases that are tightly linked with those breeds, shedding light on the genes underlying related diseases in humans. As Elinor says in the program, "We can really say that dogs are good for our health."

Check your local listings to watch the program and learn more about what Elinor and other researchers are discovering from their research on man's best friend.

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This interesting documentary exposes the science behind a species of animal that has become a human comensal since the dawn of civilization. While chimpanzee research is thrilling because of our proximity in genomes, it is the dogs who can respond to human interaction and are a much more social species than the chimp. Broad Institute has really taken this huge step forward in approaching genetics in a unique and innovative way. As an aspiring geneticist, I enjoyed the Institue's segment in the documentary thoroughly, and I look forward to reading more about their work in this field of science.
It would be really nice if you would let the breeder of the dogs know if you find a genetic linked disease in the sample sent to you since it would be helpful knowledge before breeding the animal, if the sample is collected from a dog before it has been used for breeding.