How Studying Dog Genetics Benefits Human Health

What do human and dog genetics have in common? Like our lives with our canine companions, they are very intertwined.

Human and dog genetics are quite similar, with humans and dogs sharing 84% of their DNA. Because we share many of the same diseases with dogs—like diabetes and several types of cancer—dogs are excellent models for understanding the genetics behind these diseases.

Our team of scientists at WISDOM HEALTH™ Genetics is leading the charge to decode the dog genome as part of our mission to make A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.

We recently announced the publication of a study conducted by the University of Helsinki with support from the Wisdom Health Labs, which was published in PLOS Genetics.

One of Wisdom Health’s lead scientists, Jonas Donner, PhD, co-authored the study, Recessive missense LAMP3 variant associated with defect in lamellar body biogenesis and fatal neonatal interstitial lung disease in dogs, describing a novel variant within the LAMP3 gene associated with a developmental lung disease in Airedale Terriers.

This lung disease is newly discovered in Airedale Terriers, but is very similar to a rare lung surfactant deficiency affecting newborn infants. Tragically, the puppies diagnosed with this lung disease do not survive beyond the first few weeks of life.

But don’t despair—there is hope! Studies like this can help identify potential candidate genes for human disorders (in this case, lung surfactant disorders) and contribute to a better understanding of the biology of the affected organs.

We can share the discoveries with the veterinary and human medical communities with the goal of identifying the genetic mechanisms underlying disease in both populations, providing tremendous value for both dogs and humans.

Importantly, these studies also power the science behind the WISDOM PANEL™ Genetic Health Tests. For our part, we can channel these discoveries into the development of veterinary genetic screening tests capable of identifying genetic variants associated with specific diseases.

Studies like these power the science behind the WISDOM PANEL Genetic Health Tests, empowering pet parents with the information they need to make the best decisions for their furry family members.

In these difficult and uncertain times, we’re reminded just how important our pets are to us as they continue to offer companionship, support, and love.

Through our research efforts, we can directly improve the lives of pets today as we seek to create A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. We can also work to pave the way for future discoveries in human health tomorrow, which—whether we have two legs or four—is something we can all get behind.


Looking for a deeper dive into the LAMP3 study? You can read the press release announcing the publication. Learn more about dog genetics—and the insights you can gain from a WISDOM PANEL dog DNA test—on the Wisdom Panel blog.

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The mission of WISDOM HEALTH™ veterinary science and research is to facilitate responsible pet care by enhancing the well-being and relationship between pets, pet owners, breeders, shelters and veterinarians through valuable insights into pets as individuals. Through the genetic testing of dogs and cats we aim to make advances in science towards a better world for all pets so their owners can love them longer.

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