A Clockwork Hound: Fruit Fly Clock Genes and Understanding the Genetics of Dog Behavior

 With Guest Chatters Stephen Zawistowski, CAAB and Jessica Hekman, DVM.

Did you know that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to three researchers for their discoveries into the molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythms of fruit flies? And that this research showed how genes and the proteins they produce interact with environmental factors to regulate the biological clocks in all of us?  For those of us interested in the behavior of companion animals this may seem pretty irrelevant, but actually, it isn’t.  Biological clocks are at the basis of many behavioral phenomena including sleep, peaks of activity and attention and even sexual behavior!  This work also illustrates how far we have come in the understanding of the genetic influences on behavior where there is exciting research being done today on dogs and their relatives.

So join us with two colleagues, Drs. Stephen Zawistowski and Jessica Hekman, both experts in behavior genetics, to learn how this fruit fly research is relevant to companion animal behavior and to chat about the new and exciting research on canine behavior genetics.

Dr. Hekman has put together a list of references concerning canine behavioral genetics, Darwin’s Dogs survey sources and other online resources.  Click HERE to download this list.

Want more information about genomics and canine behavior genetics?

Dr. Hekman offers online classes on behavior genetics. Her DNA class is a good intoduction to genomics. You can find it at https://iaabc.org/courses/dna-self-study
She covers genome-wide association studies in another webinar (the Genetics of Canine Aggression) which can be found at https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1945365. Both of these are paid classes.
Rosie Redfield has a great free class on YouTube – it’s a bit more in depth than Dr. Hekman’s and may be more than most people need, but you can pick and choose what you want from it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXvdL-To72k

Here are two references about canine genetics and genomics recommended by Dr. Zawistoski. Follow the links and the articles can be read free of charge.
Tyrone C.Spady & Elaine A.Ostrander 2008. Canine Behavioral Genetics: Pointing Out the Phenotypes and Herding up the Genes. American Journal of Human Genetics, 82,10-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.12.001  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929707000274

Hirschhorn, J.N. & Daly, M.J. 2005. Genome-wide association studies for complex diseases and complex traits. Nature Reviews, 6, 95-108.  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bab1/3d2d52bf41d44e2efa19edf29f62ee7d9e79.pdf


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