We meet in Branford, CT, about once every 4-6 weeks and topics discussed range from physical sciences, to life sciences and social sciences. A knowledge of the topic being discussed is not required, nor is there any membership requirement or age restriction. Perhaps the only requirement is curiosity and a thirst for knowledge! Science and technology are integral to every aspect of life - history, geography, humanities, music - everything.
Now for a piece of excellent news for Tilde Cafe: as of January 23, 2009 you can find a link to us on the science cafes website maintained by WGBH Educational Foundation - WGBH is the public television station out of Boston, and produces NOVA among many other fantastic shows. Tilde Cafe is the only listed science cafe in CT, and the only one between NYC and Boston!
As of July 2014, the IRS has recognized Tilde Cafe as a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations.
© 2009 Deepti Pradhan and Tilde Cafe
October 18, 2014
Distinct yet similar: dogs and humans - a recap of Tilde Cafe #50
Today was a milestone for Tilde Cafe, with it being the 50th cafe discussion since 2008! Keeping our sights on bringing you eminent scientists to speak on a panoply of subjects, dog-lovers in particular were treated to an absorbing afternoon about the intricacies and potential of canine genetics.
While humans and dogs have roughly the same number of genes, 23,000, these genes are spread over 23 chromosomes in humans, and 39 chromosomes in dogs. A working draft of the human genome was published in 2000; a working draft of the dog genome was published in 2004, using DNA from a female boxer, Tasha. With information on both genomes now available, previous observations of similarities between diseases of dogs and humans have been confirmed in many instances. This makes it even more compelling to understand and treat the shared diseases in dogs and humans.
All breeds included, dogs suffer from more than 300 genetic disorders, many of which resemble human conditions. The most common diseases among purebred dogs include cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, allergies, retinal disease, and cataracts, and current treatment provided is not very different from that provided to humans. With this in mind, and the fact that although 365 days define a year in the life of both dogs and humans, and that a dog's physiological age is on an average 7-9 times that of a human's, finding appropriate interventions for pathological conditions in dogs can have a direct bearing on treating similar human conditions. For example, the Canine Longevity Consortium is undertaking a significant collaborative effort funded by the NIH's National Institute on Aging to study aging in dogs - the Canine Longitudinal Aging Study. Although aging has been studied in laboratory animals, the studies have been conducted under controlled conditions that don't mimic the environments we inhabit. Enter, the normal life cycle of Canis lupus familiaris who shares our living environments and thus experiences the same environmental stresses and benefits that we experience! Because of the rapidity of canine aging, results from novel ways of treating dogs in this difficult period of their lives, can likely be swiftly translated to helping humans through similar discomforts. And, as dog lovers would say, this would be yet another instance of a dog being man's best friend!
For those who are interested in supporting efforts to discovering the links between canine and human cancers, the 2 Million Dogs Foundation is organizing fundraising walks around the US. Please visit http://www.2milliondogs.org/walks/upcoming-walks/ to find a walk in your area. If you are close to the Connecticut shoreline, there's a walk on November 9 at Hammonasset.
Here's a take on what Orhan Pamuk said in My Name is Red, "Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen": dog genetics will speak, and we will benefit from listening. Let's listen! Thanks Mark, for giving us a quick walk through the field and the potential it holds for both dog and human health.
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