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U of Minn researchers discover genetic cancer link between humans and dogs
Date:2/28/2008

Cancer researchers at the University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University have found that humans and dogs share more than friendship and companionship they also share the same genetic basis for certain types of cancer. Furthermore, the researchers say that because of the way the genomes have evolved, getting cancer may be inevitable for some humans and dogs.

Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Cancer Center, and Matthew Breen, Ph.D., North Carolina State Universitys Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, collaborated on this research study. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Chromosome Research, a special edition on comparative cytogenetics and genomics research by scientists from around the world.

Genomes are divided into chromosomes, which act as natures biological filing cabinets with genes located in specific places.

Many forms of human cancer are associated with specific alterations to the number or structure of chromosomes and the genes they contain, Breen said. We have developed reagents to show that the same applies to dog cancers, and that the specific genome reorganization which occurs in comparable human and canine cancers shares a common basis.

More specifically, Breen and Modiano found that the genetic changes that occur in dogs diagnosed with certain cancers of the blood and bone marrow, including chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), Burkitts lymphoma (BL), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), are virtually identical to genetic abnormalities in humans diagnosed with the same cancers.

We believe the implication of this finding is that cancer may be the consequence of generations of genetic evolution that has occurred similarly in dogs and humans, Modiano said. This means that to some degree, cancer may be inevitable in some humans and dogs just because of the way our genomes have developed since the sep
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Contact: Sara E. Buss
buss@umn.edu
612-626-7037
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert  

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