Companion animals, particularly dogs, are being increasingly appreciated as useful animal models of human diseases, as many naturally occurring canine diseases resemble diseases in people. Traditionally, laboratory rodents have been used as disease models; however, dogs offer an intermediary stage when translating experimental models into clinical practice. With the completion of the sequencing of the canine genome, identifying the genes responsible for complex genetic diseases has now become possible. The use of spontaneous animal models of human diseases was discussed at a meeting organised by the Comparative Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in London on March 16.
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