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For dogs, sole gene doesn’t equate to cancer

If you’re a dog lover, we have some good news. It turns out that a better understanding of the mechanisms behind aging and cancer could reduce the number of canines over the age of 10 that die from cancer each year. A better understanding of those same mechanisms may even yield big news for humans down the road.

Recently, University of Minnesota researchers made a surprising discovery about one gene implicated in canine aging. Their finding centered around a gene known as “TERT.”

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Kidney stone insight in dogs could boost relief for humans, too

Chances are, you know someone who’s had a kidney stone. The rock-like masses of calcium oxalate can be painful – and worse, can come back time and time again. As many as one in 10 people will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime.

Today, scientists know the biggest risk factor for kidney stones is genetics. However, just which genes passed from parent to child can claim responsibility for yielding the stones down the road isn’t yet known.

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A global research network yields big results for dogs with kidney disease

A diagnosis of a rare kidney disease known as glomerular disease in canines used to spell uncertain and often heartbreaking news for pet owners.

Now, thanks in part to the work of one University of Minnesota researcher, that’s no longer the case. The life-threatening kidney disease, which affects a dog’s ability to filter blood, is now better understood than ever before.

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In the News: Red-tailed hawk recovering at U of M after subzero dip in river

For most animals, winter temperatures are weathered with ease. Feathers, fur and the like are built to withstand the elements.

Unfortunately for one local animal, a red-tailed hawk found in early December, a frigid plummet into the Mississippi River left him unable to cope with the weather. The raptor’s hind feathers were frozen together leaving him unable to fly.

Thought to have hypothermia and frostbite on his left talon, the red-tailed hawk was transported to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota and is now recovering…

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Award-winning bovine tuberculosis research

Minnesota is among the top cattle-producing states in the nation. From red meat to milk cows, cattle are an intrinsic part of the Minnesota economy.

But in July 2005, disease was detected in cattle in northwest Minnesota.

Bovine tuberculosis – an infectious disease weakening the immune system – threatened Minnesota’s cattle population for the next six years.

João Ribeiro Lima, a doctoral candidate in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and his advisor Scott Wells, D.V.M., Ph.D., set out to investigate how to stem the spread of future outbreaks.

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Sequencing a turkey’s genome

Health Talk took a break from Thanksgiving meal preparation yesterday to talk turkey with University of Minnesota expert Kent Reed, Ph.D.

Reed is an evolutionary biologist and animal geneticist with the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s helped sequence upwards of 90 percent of the turkey genome with the Turkey Genome Mapping Project and is now working to characterize the turkey genome’s precursor: the turkey transcriptome.

Here’s what he has to say about your holiday centerpiece…

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