Brain tumours in dogs are similar to human ones and could give clues to how the disease develops, scientists say.
A study of 25 breeds of dog, published in PLOS Genetics, has identified three genes linked with a severe type of brain tumour known as glioma.
Future investigation may yield a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of brain tumours in dogs and humans, researchers say.
Gliomas are very severe human brain tumours that are often incurable.
The disease can also occur in dogs, and some breeds, such as the boxer and bulldog, have an increased risk.
Genetic analysis of blood samples from dogs showed variations in three genes were linked with development of brain tumours in canines.
People have the same genes as the ones identified by the researchers in dogs.
“Researchers in the consortium are now continuing the analysis of the genes identified, and their functional roles in development and progression of glioma in both dogs and humans,” said co-researcher Katarina Truve.
The researchers were able to identify a stretch of genetic code that differed between diseased and healthy dogs.
“These results indicate that further investigations of the role of these three genes in glioma development would be of interest, with potential benefit to both dog and human,” said Prof Karin Forsberg Nilsson, of Uppsala University, in Sweden, who also worked on the study.