May 2016 - Exciting Update

Our next new adventure!

We are excited to announce the joining of two great projects in dog genetics: the Dog Genome Project at the Broad Institute and Darwin's Dogs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

What does this mean?

None of the ongoing research projects at the Broad Institute or at Darwin's Dogs will end. At the Broad Institute, we will continue our research into cancer and other diseases, and we will add new projects studying how genetics shapes behavior and can sometimes lead to psychiatric diseases.

If you have enrolled your dog in one study can you participate in the other?

Definitely! Over the next few months, we will be uniting these two projects under a single website, making it easier for you to participate, and easier for us to keep you updated on how our research is going. To do this successfully, we need your help.

  • If your dog is enrolled in the Dog Genome Project at the Broad Institute, you will receive an email soon asking if you would like to enroll in Darwin's Dogs.
  • If you have already signed up for Darwin's Dogs, you will receive an email in the next few months asking if you would like to enroll in any of the disease research projects at the Broad Institute.
  • Finally, if your dog is already enrolled both at the Broad Institute and at Darwin's Dogs, please email us at and let us know so we can combine your information.

We are really excited about this opportunity to combine the research efforts of two great labs!  Members from our lab have been involved in many research milestones in regard to the dog, including:

  • Sequencing the complete dog genome for the first time (2005)
  • Improving the dog genome by filling in gaps and errors in the original version and better marking critical regions like genes and regulatory elements (2014)
  • Finding genes responsible for traits including white coat color (2007), ridge in Rhodesian ridgebacks (2007) and hairlessness (2008)
  • Dove deeper by studying diseases caused by changes in just one or a few genes, including day blindness in dachshunds (2008), degenerative myelopathy in Corgis (2009), osteogenesis imperfecta in dachshunds (2009), cardiomyopathy in Boxers (2010) and familial Shar-pei fever (2011).
  • Tackling complex diseases (diseases caused by changes in many genes) and found genetic changes that increase a dog's risk of inflammatory diseases (2010), epilepsy (2011) and cancers such as mammary tumors (2009), osteosarcoma (2013), B-cell lymphoma (2015), hemangiosarcoma (2015) and mast cell tumors (2015)

Together, we can continue to strengthen dog genetics research and help dogs and humans alike. Please continue to check back with us as we update our websites to reflect these new changes.

In the meantime, please feel free to email us at with any questions.

The Dog Genome Project & Darwin's Dogs