In many ways dogs really are man’s best friend. We’ve sustained a co-existing relationship with this species for almost 10,000 years! If that doesn’t speak to the friendship between us, I don’t know what will. In fact, we’ve had such a close relationship that half of the 400 inherited canine diseases are similar to human ones! The human-dog bond is in our DNA!
By studying the DNA sequences of both humans and dogs through genomics, scientists are beginning to personalize medicines, improve treatments, and develop preventative diagnostic tests for both canine and human diseases. Through looking at human genes, we can be more informed about how to treat canine diseases and vis-versa. For example, things such as human degenerative retinal diseases have helped researchers detect gene mutations related to vision loss in 100 different canine breeds (Labrador Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, Miniature and Toy Poodles just to name a few)!
It’s quite astounding that simply by studying the similarities between the genes of humans and dogs we can help us take better care of ourselves and the lives our best friends. Now if only we can figure out what the heck is up with cats… I wonder how similar our genes are to that of felines…