Domestic animals as models for biomedical research

  • Leif Andersson Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden; and Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA
Keywords: Comparative genomics, domestic animals, mutation detection


Domestic animals are unique models for biomedical research due to their long history (thousands of years) of strong phenotypic selection. This process has enriched for novel mutations that have contributed to phenotype evolution in domestic animals. The characterization of such mutations provides insights in gene function and biological mechanisms. This review summarizes genetic dissection of about 50 genetic variants affecting pigmentation, behaviour, metabolic regulation, and the pattern of locomotion. The variants are controlled by mutations in about 30 different genes, and for 10 of these our group was the first to report an association between the gene and a phenotype. Almost half of the reported mutations occur in non-coding sequences, suggesting that this is the most common type of polymorphism underlying phenotypic variation since this is a biased list where the proportion of coding mutations are inflated as they are easier to find. The review documents that structural changes (duplications, deletions, and inversions) have contributed significantly to the evolution of phenotypic diversity in domestic animals. Finally, we describe five examples of evolution of alleles, which means that alleles have evolved by the accumulation of several consecutive mutations affecting the function of the same gene.


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How to Cite
Andersson L. (2015). Domestic animals as models for biomedical research. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 121(1), 1-11.
Review Articles