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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

I have two Australian Shepherds who are black tri color (black, white, and copper). There are blue merle Aussies, also, and I would like to know if transposons cause the merle effect of the coat color. Thank you. My Molecular Biology class is having a party now, complete with DNA hats and DNA cupcakes. Eleanor Jones
     Heidi Parker, Ph.D.: Comparing the dog genome to the human genome in an effort to answer questions about disease in both dogs and humans. Yes, it was found that the insertion of a transposon called a SINE is responsible for the merle coloring. The insertion is in a gene called SILV which is involved in pigmentation. These particular transposons are very common in the dog genome.
Academy of the Sacred Heart Bloomfield Hills in MI (teacher)

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