Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Ostrander, Elaine A.
Location National Institutes of Health
Primary Field Genetics
Secondary Field Animal, Nutritional and Applied Microbial Sciences
 Election Citation
Ostrander studies human and canine genetics, leading to a genetic understanding of canine evolution, morphologic variation and cancer susceptibility.
 Research Interests
Our lab is interested in understanding the role that genomic variation plays in canine morphology, behavior and disease susceptibility. We study all aspects of canid biology including evolution, genome architecture, breed formation, breed-specific disease, behavior, and the genetics of morphologic variation between breeds. Using genome sequencing, we show that most breed-defining traits, such as body size, ear position, leg length, etc., are controlled by small numbers of genes of large effect, and that most are also relevant for human health and biology. We also study breed-specific diseases, most of which are the same as or mimic human disorders, with a particular emphasis on cancer. Understanding the genetic underpinnings of such diseases advances studies of similar human disorders and enhances the utility of the dog as a system for studies of all aspects of cancer. Finally, we study behavior genetics, taking advantage of the nearly 350 breeds that exist worldwide, many with specific behaviors upon which human survival has been dependent.

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