student profile: Miss Bobbie Cansdale


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Interplay between haplotype and topological domain structure in the canine genome

Supervisors: Bianca WAUD , Claire WADE

Thesis abstract:

Large fragments of DNA containing specific combinations of genes tend to survive the evolutionary process as intact groupings, termed haplotype blocks, across many species. There are known to be two major drivers of haplotype block architecture: the number of chromosomes present in the founder population, and the number of generations since population foundation. However, these two drivers do not fully explain the occurrence of haplotype blocks. Our hypothesis is that there is a third driver that defines haplotype architecture: the arrangement of DNA into 3D topological domains. This idea is supported by the patterns of co-regulation identified within topological domains that are highly reminiscent of haplotype block structures within populations. Dogs are an excellent model for this research, with the separation into discrete, phenotypically diverse pure breeding populations providing a less variable genomic landscape in which to investigate. This project aims to use an extensive resource of canine genome, marker, and phenotype data to define haplotype block characteristics in different dog breeds and determine whether DNA conformation drives haplotype block formation via the activity of topological domains. This research in canines will be used to develop improved gene mapping techniques applicable to both simple and complex traits in all mammals.

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