Research in Group Lohi's lab
Compared to similar human studies, studies on dogs make it possible to identify genes, even those causing complex diseases, from a much smaller collection of samples. The aim of canine genetic research is to identify genetic abnormalities leading to different hereditary diseases, as well as other breed-specific traits, to develop genetic tests for purposes of breeding, and to use the gained knowledge in the study of human diseases. A new genetic discovery opens up possibilities for the better understanding of disease mechanisms and helps us to improve diagnostic methods, treatments and drug development.
Although we work with many genetic traits in dogs, our research focuses on neurological and neurobehavioral conditions such as common epilepsy and anxiety. We have already mapped several new loci and genes in these disorders and believe that the natural canine models provide clinically and physiologically relevant models to corresponding human diseases. Comparison of the identified loci, genes and pathways across species will establish dogs as novel therapeutic models to understand the molecular pathogenesis of these complex traits. Meanwhile, breeders will benefit from the new DNA markers developed to identify the carriers for improved breeding plans.