Why is the Samoyed the breed of choice for research?
The dog genome sequence has been completed and “scientists found that humans share more of their ancestral DNA with dogs than with mice, confirming the utility of dog genetics for understanding human disease” (Nature 12/8/05)
Samoyeds are descended from the oldest ancestral line of dogs (Science, 5/21/04) and are therefore “living representatives of the ancestral gene pool”.
Historians of the Samoyed breed claim that the breed was derived from as few as 12 dogs. A National Geographic news article states that the Samoyed is one of 5 breeds considered “somewhat rare” and having “small breeding populations. There is not a lot of genetic diversity in these breeds, making sequencing easier, say researchers.”
Mapping genes associated with diseases common to both man and dogs can best be accomplished by taking advantage of the small gene pool from which Samoyeds descend.