Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating disease that dramatically decreases the lifespan and
abilities of affected young people. The primary molecular cause of the disease is the absence of functional dystrophin protein,
which is critical to proper muscle function. Those with DMD vary in disease presentation and dystrophin mutation;
the same causal mutation may be associated with drastically different levels of disease severity. Also contributing to this
variation are the influences of additional modifying genes and/or changes in functional elements governing such modifiers.
This genetic heterogeneity complicates the efficacy of treatment methods and to date medical interventions are limited
to treating symptoms. Animal models of DMD have been instrumental in teasing out the intricacies of DMD disease and
hold great promise for advancing knowledge of its variable presentation and treatment. This review addresses the utility of
comparative genomics in elucidating the complex background behind phenotypic variation in a canine model of DMD,
Golden Retriever muscular dystrophy (GRMD). This knowledge can be exploited in the development of improved, more
personalized treatments for DMD patients, such as therapies that can be tailor-matched to the disease course and genomic
background of individual patients.
Keywords: Genomics, Comparative genomics, Golden retriever muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Animal
models of DMD, Canine dystrophin.
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