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August 10, 2023

This is neat! A new databank of dog genes at UC Davis may provide genetic insights into 3 common (and devastating) cancers in dogs & people. One of the researchers gave a great explanation of what they look for to decipher commonalities (and maybe important origins) of cancer in all of us. 

Dog Genes and Comparative Oncology

When doctors find common disease processes in dogs and people, that comparative nature of their work often generates new treatments (faster) because it's essentially easier to study things like cancer in dogs. Examples include immunotherapies like the vaccine for canine melanoma (in support of surgery and other treatments). 

So, the new databank basically will store genetic samples from pet dogs diagnosed with:

These cancers develop in "remarkably similar" ways in people, so what works in dogs might also work in people.

Our original canine heroine, Lilly, developed 2 kinds of cancer (in addition to everything else) toward the end of her life, including an oral cancer, but not melanoma. 

Dog Genes Research

I just love this explanation from the databank announcement this week:

“Think of it this way,” John McPherson (deputy director of the UC Davis School of Veterinary MedicineUC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center) said. “A genome is like an encyclopedia set. Every volume of the encyclopedia is a chromosome and inside every volume are chapters and paragraphs. Sequencing is reading the words and letters of the genome. As a genomic researcher, I’m looking at misspelled words. These are changes that alter the function of proteins encoded by the genes.”

dog genes research quote
About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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