Medical research uses many model organisms, and dogs are one of them. Canine research is an important part of many research and testing laboratories, as dogs are particularly well-suited to addressing certain questions relevant to human diseases and behavioral patterns.
Dogs have extremely high phenotypic plasticity compared to other mammals, leading to huge differences in size, behavior, body shape, and disease susceptibility between breeds. This diversity makes them ideal subjects for research surrounding the genetic bases of various skeletal and muscular conditions. Dogs have also been bred for thousands of years to respond to human social cues, making them useful for research into the genetic underpinnings of behavior. Additionally, canine diets are similar enough to human diets that dogs provide insight into dietary and metabolic conditions that other lab animals cannot.
Current research programs involving dogs study ways to prevent deadly lung infections in spinal-injury patients who cannot cough effectively, to develop better automated glucose monitors and insulin pumps for diabetics, and to study the neurology of narcolepsy for a better basic understanding of this condition.
At the same time, dog breeders and pet owners themselves benefit from accurate information about their animals’ genetics. Whether they are breeding for the pet trade, for high-status shows, or for medical research, breeders need tools for verifying the pedigree, disease risks, and overall genetic health of their dogs. This is especially important for breeders seeking to reduce the incidence of health problems characteristic to particular breeds, such as difficulty breathing in pugs and hip dysplasia in dachshunds. Accurate genetic information can guide line-breeding efforts and even create new lines with specific properties that make them better suited to particular research programs, and it can inform pet owners seeking veterinary assistance.
Unfortunately, conventional genotyping is an involved, expensive and time-consuming process. This means that researchers who need this level of information for large numbers of dogs to maintain adequate sample sizes need large budgets, and genotypic information is out of reach of most veterinarians and breeders. Innovative assays seek to remove these barriers and make canine genetic information far more accessible. With faster and broader access to the genetic profiles of individual dogs, research and breeding operations can address more complex questions more easily, leading to improvements in canine and human health as well as in our understanding of one of the first domesticated animals.
Thermo Fisher’s Axiom Genotyping Solution for agrigenomics takes these possibilities one step farther. The Axiom Genotyping Solution provides breeders and researchers with powerful genotyping tools to identify, validate and screen complex canine genetic traits. Axiom’s canine iteration, the Axiom Canine HD Array, enables analysis of over 710,000 markers, including breed markers, disease markers, and genetic signatures from older assays for research continuity, as well as the latest identified insights from the CanFam3 reference genome. Developed by screening over 2,000 samples covering 50 breeds using the Axiom Screening Set A and B arrays, carefully selected with appropriate pedigrees to maximize polymorphic content, the Axiom Canine HD array reduces the equipment, expertise, and time needed to succeed at canine genetics research. Additionally, Axiom features a variety of analysis tools that enable research into heterozygosity loss, copy number detection, and other advanced genetics information. Such information is increasingly important in disease biology for both human and canine subjects, particularly in the context of cancer, and of extreme traits driven by additional copies of otherwise ordinary genes. Access to such deep and wide wells of genetic insight into canine subjects opens up entire new research areas for exploration, for the benefit of humans and dogs alike.
Thermo Fisher also offers an advanced suite of next-generation sequencing (NGS) solutions to deliver genomic information accurately, inexpensively, and rapidly. The Thermo Fisher AgriSeq targeted genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) process uses highly efficient multiplexed PCR chemistry to generate amplicon libraries corresponding to hundreds or thousands of predetermined markers in a single PCR reaction. The resulting libraries can be barcoded and used as the basis for sequencing the relevant portions of hundreds of samples at once via the Ion Torrent series of next-generation sequencing instruments, producing millions of accurate genotypes per day. These tools make it possible to genotype entire canine research populations, enabling far-reaching looks into the role of genetics in their biology and diseases. Similarly, these tools also enable breeders to know the genetics of their entire breeding stock, facilitating more tailored veterinary care and helping inform line-breeding efforts.
For a look at what the Thermo Fisher AgriSeq targeted GBS solution and the Axiom Genotyping Solution can do for you, contact us for more information.
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.