The dog is a powerful comparative disease model for genetic studies of complex traits. Dogs are predisposed to many of the same complex diseases that humans are, share an environment with their human owners and receive medical surveillance and care. Heavy breeding for certain behavioural or phenotypic traits has created genetic isolates, breeds, which are characterized by low levels of genetic variation and a limited number of genetic disease variants, often of high frequency, within each breed. In order to perform genetic studies of complex traits in dogs, a well annotated dog genome is of major importance. Since the first canine genome was published in 2005, sequencing technologies and analysis tools have undergone a dramatic development. We have made an extensive effort to create a new high quality dog reference genome assembly from a female German shepherd that will help us and the canine genetics community to better identify new genetic causes of disease. These findings will have direct implications for dog health, but will also in many cases be important for human health.
A German shepherd.