Scientists have completed sequencing the DNA of another animal—this time, man's best friend.
In December, researchers published the genome of the dog in the journal Nature. The Broad Institute, a collaboration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, led the $30 million project to sequence DNA covering almost 99 percent of the dog genome.
The DNA sequence, from a female Boxer, then served as a map for navigating the genomes of 10 dog breeds, and canine cousins such as the coyote and gray wolf. The comparison turned up 2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms, tiny variations in the genetic code, within the dog genome.
Breeding dogs to preserve their desirable traits has predisposed many breeds to genetic diseases. Yet the analysis revealed that dog breeds still share large segments of DNA, despite diverse physical characteristics.
The study also found a common set of genetic elements among the dog, mouse, and human amounting to approximately 5 percent of the human genome.
The project was part of the Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network through the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
The NHGRI released the first draft of the dog genome in 2004, after another group produced a partial DNA sequence from a male Poodle in 2003. The NHGRI also released first drafts of the chimpanzee, honeybee, chicken, and bovine genome sequences in 2003 and 2004.
Other work in progress includes the genome for the rabbit, shrew, hedgehog, armadillo, elephant, cat, platypus, opossum, bat, bush baby, guinea pig, squirrel, wallaby, orangutan, marmoset, and macaque.