Identifying Osteosarcoma Genes in Man’s Best Friend

Mentors: Snaevar Sigurdsson

Humans and dogs share most of their genes and many of their diseases, one example being osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. It is likely that affected genes and pathways in canine osteosarcoma are shared with humans; thus mechanisms elucidated in doges should be transferable to human medicine.

Arjun’s mentor previously conducted a genome-wide association study, which showed that a region on chromosome 11 was found to be associated with osteosarcoma in greyhounds. Arjun & his mentor selected 45 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a 120 kilobase-long region, to study further using the Sequenom genotyping technology. Arjun performed genotyping on DNA samples from hundreds of dogs, and discovered associations in two main areas. Thus, Arjun narrowed down the region of interest to a 60 kilobase-long region containing a gene that is frequently deleted in tumors. Arjun and his mentor also performed DNA sequencing of this region, and found one mutation in dogs with osteosarcoma. Notably, this mutation caused a single amino acid to change in the gene previously known to be deleted in tumors.



Arjun, a senior at Brookline High School, identified a mutation in the DNA of greyhound dogs, that is associated with a specific type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.