Friday Evening Lecture Series – “Genetics of Complex Traits in the Domestic Dog”

Date(s) - 06/29/2012
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Lillie Auditorium

Friday Evening Lecture Series – “Genetics of Complex Traits in the Domestic Dog”
Elaine A. Ostrander, National Human Genome Research Institute
June 29, 2012, 8:00 PM, Lillie Auditorium

Introduction by Gary Borisy

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Elaine OstranderLecture Abstract:
In last few centuries subpopulations of dogs have developed into closed populations as a result of differential selection for traits associated with both behavior and appearance. This practice, coupled with small numbers of founders for many breeds and population bottlenecks has generated a population that is ideal for mapping genes underlying complex traits.

The approximately 165 domestic US dogs breeds display tremendous morphologic variation, making them an appealing model for the identification of genetic regulators of vertebrate shape and development. We have genotyped over 1000 dogs representing 85 domestic breeds to generate data on over 60,000 informative SNPs per dog. This, combined with morphometric data has allowed us to map and sequence loci that control various features of breed-specific traits related to shape and size. In this seminar we will summarize our work on body size, leg length and skull shape, providing new insights into the ways in which genes work together to create a continuum of variation across dog breeds. We will also talk about predisposition to specific disease in dogs and summarize our recent findings on breed specific cancers.

Dr. Elaine Ostrander is Chief of the Cancer Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. She also heads the Section of Comparative Genetics. Dr. Ostrander’s laboratory is interested in the study of genes important in growth regulation, particularly as it pertains to disease states in humans and canines. Her group aims to find genes that control the morphologic body plan of the domestic dog, which shows an extraordinary level of variation between breeds, and to identify disease susceptibility genes in dogs. Her group’s work also focuses on the identification of genes that relate to susceptibility to, progression of, and specific outcomes in individuals with breast and prostate cancer. Dr. Ostrander received her Ph.D. from the Oregon Health Sciences University, and did her postdoctoral training at Harvard. She then went to the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, where, with collaborators, she began the canine genome project, initiating work on the canine meiotic linkage maps. She was at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington for 12 years, rising to the rank of Member in the Human Biology and Clinical Research Divisions, and Head of the Genetics Program.  Dr. Ostrander has published more than 250 papers and articles.

President and Director of the MBL, Dr. Gary Borisy, will introduce Dr. Ostrander. Dr. Borisy became the laboratory’s 13th Director in 2006. Previously he was Associate Vice President for Research and the Leslie B. Arey Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After serving a postdoctoral fellowship at the MRC in Cambridge, England, Dr. Borisy joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, rising through the professional ranks to Chairman of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Perlman-Bascom Professor of Life Sciences, before moving to Northwestern in 2000. At various times throughout his career, Dr. Borisy has spent time at the MBL, conducting research; collaborating with scientists; and participating in some of the MBL’s educational programs. He is the author of more than 200 papers, the editor of two books, and has received numerous professional honors. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past President of the American Society for Cell Biology.

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