Friendship between dog and man at the molecular level

Surely you've heard (and seen) that often dog owners somewhat look like their pets. While this may be a coincidence or psychological phenomena of human preference for similar, studies have shown that there is a greater similarity of the genome of human and dog than of the human and mouse! Thus, the similarity between people and dogs exists also at the molecular level. This is supported by the fact that more than half of hereditary diseases which affect dogs also occurs in people, such as epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, deafness, heart disease, type 1 diabetes and prostate cancer. Since many diseases of dogs and humans have similar physiology, symptoms and response to therapy, dogs can be of help to us as models of diseases that occur naturally in both species. The results of the studies of these diseases can be of benefit not only for our pets, but also to humans! Importantly, in these studies there is no ethical dilemma compared to studies of experimentally induced diseases in animals because the disease occurs naturally in the dog and has to be treated. There are high hopes in the research of various types of cancer that occur in both dogs and humans. Dogs live in the same environment as humans and are exposed to the same environmental factors, so it is possible that (along with an inherited predisposition) there is a similar origin of various diseases of dogs and humans. In order not to talk only in theory, we bring an example where a disease of dogs is used as a model for human disease. Namely, it is shown that the same gene is associated with the inherited form of epilepsy in dogs and humans, known as Lafora disease. This disease begins in humans at the age of 6 to 12 with symptoms of seizures followed by progressive dementia. Since it is a progressive lethal disorder, the studies of dogs suffering from the same disease may contribute to the understanding and treatment of the disease in both species. It seems that dog really can be man's best friend - not only in health, but also in sickness.

 

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Friendship between dog and man at the molecular level