We are using a new technique of genome sequencing and mapping called Bionano. This method will help identify larger changes to chromosomes and make comparisons between different animals. This innovative method will provide long-range information across the genome of dogs and wolves to explore how chromosomes differ from each other, and I will relate that to behavioral profiles of each animal along the spectrum of human-directed sociability.
The challenges I face is obtaining samples that meet the quality requirements of the Bionano method. Once collected from participating dogs and wolves, the blood tubes are shipped overnight express on ice to the company to perform immediate extractions and assessment of DNA quality. The DNA needs to be of very long pieces, which is often challenging. We already have ~10 samples that can be surveyed and likely will serve as a pool of samples from which we can select those to sequence.
The Bionano process will provide us nucleotide sequences and the ability to identify structural changes along each chromosome that we have sequenced. Then we can utilize software specifically developed for this method to identify changes that co-occur with behavioral differences. We hope to both validate our previous finding of insertions on canine chromosome 6 that confer increased sociability but also locate new mutations on other chromosome that support changes in social behavior both within and between species.
This project has not yet shared any protocols.