The family dog may not only be a friendly companion but also a reflection of community health.
Students at The University of Findlay are helping Michael Edelbrock, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, study canine cells using a process originally developed using human cells and perfected by Alexander Vaglenov, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.
According to Edelbrock, dogs respond to toxicity much like humans. When humans are exposed to environmental pollution, the genome can be affected, which causes mutations that can lead to diseases such as cancer. Edelbrock's research is looking at the possibility of studying the canine population in a defined geographical area to determine how the same environment may affect humans.
Edelbrock plans to compare cells from pets and strays, and build depth from there. "The questions are endless," said Edelbrock. "We could look at environmental differences such as smoking versus non-smoking homes, rural versus urban animals, and eventually compare results from different cities."
If consistencies are found in the dogs' cells, canines could be used in studying an overall city's health and environment.
Students and faculty members at the University conduct research in $450,000 state-of-the-art science laboratories, which were completed prior to the 2007-2008 academic year.
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