Learning more of diseases and behaviours using amazing dog genetic models

Professor Claire Wade

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Time: 6.00pm (local time)
Venue: Flentje Lecture Theatre, Barr Smith Building (near Hub Central), The University of Adelaide
Register: Click here to sign up for your free EventBrite Ticket


What makes a pointing dog point or a hunting dog retrieve? What genetic differences underpin these large behavioural differences between them? Dog breeds are highly and reproducibly diverse in both their external body characteristics and their intrinsic behaviours. For a long time, humans have maintained dog breeds as discrete and highly managed pure breeding populations. The large measurable differences between breeds combined with relatively low within breed diversity enables us to clearly differentiate dog breed populations at the DNA level and learn more of what makes dogs (and us!) tick. 

From our own collection and through collaboration, we have an extensive DNA sequencing archive derived from more than 92 canine whole-genome sequences (including domestic dog and dingo) and more than 1,000 Illumina Canine High Density Genotyping arrays which give us both low resolution and high resolution access to better understand breed differences. These resources have been assisting us to map disease and behaviour phenotypes in the dog and to learn more of our own biology.

Public Lecture: Claire Wade


Professor Claire Wade, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney

Claire Wade began her career in quantitative genetics before making the leap to genomics in 2002, when she began a position with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The genomics group at the Whitehead later became one of the founding groups of what is now the Broad Institute. While in the USA, Claire worked on several mammalian genome projects including the mouse, dog and horse (for which she was the lead researcher).

Claire’s research interests include unravelling the secrets of genome biology using next generation sequencing. In particular, she studies the application of new genomic technologies to improve our understanding of diseases and behavioural traits in domestic animals and wildlife, and our understanding of the links between DNA and phenotype in general.

Projects currently underway are as diverse as studying the genetics of durability in thoroughbred race horses, finding genes underlying canine separation anxiety and working dog performance, improving captive animal management using new genetic resources, and developing new methods for the computational analysis of high throughput sequencing data. Other projects involve mapping genes causing congenital disorders in dogs, including cleft palate and deafness, using whole genome association analysis and genotyping by sequencing.

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