Project Overview

Molecular Genetics of Body Size in Dogs

Faculty Sponsor

Barbara Hoopes (




Research in my laboratory focuses on trying to understand the genetics of complex characteristics like body size and coat color in dogs.  This research is not only of interest in regards to dogs, but is a model for understanding complicated genetics in humans and other mammals.  This summer there will be several potential projects available that try to understand interactions between genes implicated in body size genetics.  Although most or all of the genes that contribute to body size differences in dogs (which vary more than any other land mammal in size) have been identified, the actual mutations and how they affect size at the physiological level is not yet understood.  Experiments looking at levels of gene expression, developing body size predictive models, and trying to characterize unmapped mutations are planned.  Students will learn techniques in DNA sequencing, gene expression analysis, bioinformatics and more complicated chromatin analysis and will apply these methodologies to an individual project chosen from some potential ongoing projects.

Student Qualifications

Completion of BIOL182 required.  Additional classes in biology at the 200 or 300 level are useful.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (