Medical genetics is the broad field of science that deals with the role of genes in disease. This involves the identification and characterization of genes that cause disease, as well as the application of genetic knowledge to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of genetic diseases. Genetic diseases include disorders in which a single gene mutation is both necessary and sufficient to cause the disease, as well as complex disorders involving the interactions of multiple genes and other factors.
Essentially all of the genetic diseases that occur in humans can be expected to occur in other mammals due to the basic homology between the human genome and the genomes of other mammalian species. However, the recognition of genetic disorders in animals depends upon the degree of medical surveillance utilized and the amount of family information that is available. Domestic animals, particularly the dog and cat, are a rich source of potential models because they are examined by veterinarians for individual diseases at a level that is comparable to human medicine.
The Walter Flato Goodman Center for Comparative Medical Genetics (CCMG) is designed to foster interdisciplinary research and research training in this field through the development of shared resources. The investigators focus their research primarily on naturally-occurring genetic diseases of animals that are true homologs of human genetic diseases.