Researchers decipher dog genome

Researchers have decoded the dog genome to a high degree of accuracy, allowing deep insights into the evolutionary history not only of Canis familiaris but also of its devoted companion species, Homo sapiens.

The dog whose &to=' target=_blank>genome has been sequenced is Tasha, a female boxer whose owners wish to remain anonymous, said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, a biologist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge who led a large group of colleagues in the DNA sequencing effort. Their findings are being reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

The world's dog population numbers some 400 million, divided into about 400 breeds. The researchers chose to sequence Tasha's genome because boxers are quite inbred, easing the decoding task, and because since she is a female, they did not have to bother with a Y chromosome, whose long palindromic regions make it particularly hard slogging, reports New York Times.

The researchers obtained the gene data from Tasha, a female boxer picked from a selection of dogs made available by breeding clubs and veterinary schools.

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