The Genomics of the American Mutt

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Recorded On: 02/11/2020

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Dogs in animal shelters must be placed into their new homes based on limited information about their personalities. This information is often supplemented by guesswork based on whether the dog’s appearance suggests particular breed ancestry. To better understand the influence of genetics and ancestry on canine behavior, we launched Darwin’s Dogs, a citizen science project that collects behavioral information and DNA from pet dogs, regardless of their ancestry. To better understand difficulties in visual breed identification, we collected breed guesses about 21 extremely mixed-breed dogs on the website

This 30-minute presentation was originally part of the National Council on Pet Population Research Symposium 2019.

Read this blog about the program.

This webinar recording is part of the new Innovation Bank. The Innovation Bank is a collection of bright ideas, innovative programs, and research that your organization can use for inspiration. Recorded sessions will be added to the series throughout Fall 2020.

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Jessica Hekman

Postdoctoral Associate, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Jessica graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 with a DVM and a MS in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. She completed an internship with the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida in 2013. She completed a PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in Animal Sciences (Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics) in 2017. She currently studies behavioral genomics of pet and working dogs at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she is a postdoctoral associate.

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