Project Overview

Characterization of mutations associated with body size differences in dogs

Faculty Sponsor

Barbara Hoopes (




What explains the vast differences in body sizes among different breeds of dogs?  Genetic variation in about 17 different chromosomal regions has been linked to body size differences, and although we understand a few of these fairly well, many of them are still not characterized.  Not only do we not know the precise mutation in many cases, we are not sure of the actual gene involved, and don't understand how the different variants interact to provide for such a wide variation in size as seen in dogs.  Projects in the lab will involve studying one of more of these genes, trying to understand what mutation may be involved or what the physiological basis might be for the variants found in different breeds.  Students will use bioinformatic and molecular biology tools to address questions about these genes.

Student Qualifications

Students must have taken BIOL182 and have an interest in molecular genetics.  Having taken a 200-level Biology course will be a plus.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (