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Dogs May Provide an Excellent Model for Understanding Human Complex Diseases

Researchers at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) have found several genes that lead to increased risk for an SLE-like autoimmune disorder in dogs. This is the first time scientists have found genes behind such a complex disease.

The study is being published in the journal Nature Genetics.

"It's extremely interesting and feels fantastic that we can so readily find genes even for complex diseases in dogs. The study also provides entirely new avenues for studying SLE in humans," says Professor Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, who directed the study, which was carried out in collaboration with scientists at SLU and colleagues in Finland and the US.

To find genes for human common diseases, thousands of blood samples are needed from both patients and healthy controls. The structure provided by dog breeding, and the refinement of various properties within the breeds, make it much easier to find pathogenic genes with a smaller number of samples.
 
 

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