The Roslin Institute
1. The domestic dog is arguably the most divererse single species of animals to work the Earth. My group is interested in the genetic basis biological paradigms of this remarkable animal's skeletal morphology. To this end, we apply cutting edge diagnostic imaging, geometric morphometrics, and genomics to quantify the contributions of quantative trait loci (QTL) that alter dog skeletal size and shape. Using fine mapping approaches such as imputation, haplotype phasing, and whole genome sequencing, we endeavor to identify genetic variation that alters bone production and its morphogenesis. The goal of this research touches upon a number of themes including 1) to address improve companion animal welfare, in doing so increasing lifespan and physical activity, 2 ) through comparative genetics bring attention to potential causes of human developmental anomalies and orthopedic conditions, and 3) to understand the molecular basis of man's selective pressures on domesticated animals.
2. Genomics is awash with genetic variation that is associated with health and trait outcomes. Little of this genetic variation will be tested for its functional impacts because the systme in which it was discovered is intractable to such characterisations. The second goal of my group is to develop surrogate systems for characterising genetic variation discovered in non-traditional animals such as companion animals. We are interested in adapting existing animals models including zebrafish, chick, and mouse models, but as well, we are interested in developing cell culture based assays that utilise cell lines.