December 11, 2017
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Genetic Tails with the Jesup and JAX

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The Jesup Memorial Library and Jackson Laboratory have gone to the dogs! This summer the Jesup and JAX are teaming up for a five-part series focusing on canines, from genetics to psychology, these programs focus on man’s best friend.

The event kicks off on Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. with Dr. Daniel Gatti, a research scientist from Jackson Laboratory. Dr. Gatti is creating the “Dogs of MDI” project, which is a database of DNA collected from dogs in the area and will be used to teach genomics. During the evening, he will be talking about the testing he has already done and his research on dog genomics. Dr. Gatti will explain more about the DNA collection that will be happening on Saturday.
Then on Saturday, May 20, from noon to 4 p.m. owners can have their dog’s DNA tested the Jesup. This test reveals specific attributes and gives insight into a dog’s background. The test is a noninvasive cheek swab and can take as few as five minutes to do. At the conclusion of the series, participants will get a spreadsheet with their dog’s DNA information and a photo of their dog. Drop by the Jesup between these times for a volunteer to do the swab. DNA sequencing is $105 per dog and can be paid for by cash or check made out to Dan Gatti to cover the coast of the laboratory testing. Dogs cannot eat 30 minutes before the testing. The DNA testing is limited to the first 108 dogs on a first come, first served basis.
The Jesup also is looking for volunteers to help with the testing. You will be trained beforehand on how to properly take the DNA swab. If you’re a dog lover this would be a great chance to meet a lot of pooches. Please contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or to volunteer. The training for the test is 11 a.m. on Saturday and you can volunteer for the whole event or for a two-hour shift. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
There also will be two speakers later in the summer as part of the series. First, on Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m. join Mark Derr as he talks about the relationship between people and their dogs. Then on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. join Dr. Adam Boyko, an assistant professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, as he talks about the evolution of the domestic dog.
The series wraps up with an event with Dr. Gatti on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. as he talks about the findings of the DNA study of the Dogs of MDI. If your dog has been DNA tested, you will also get the results of the test during this program.
These programs are free and open to the public and their dogs, with an exception of the testing fee. All dogs must be on leashes. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (#LG-80-15-0041-15) administered through Cornerstones of Science.
For more information, contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or