Leading canine geneticist to give College of Veterinary Medicine lecture Jan. 15

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Eldin A. Leighton, one of the nation’s leading authorities in canine genetics, will give a lecture Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Leighton will discuss his latest research, “Steps taken to Genetically Control a Bleeding Disorder Discovered in German Shepherd Dogs,” at noon in 255 Overton Educational Wing. The lecture will highlight the use of quantitative genetics to address a specific medical problem in the context of a long-term scientific program to promote continual improvement of guide dogs for the blind.

In addition to his seminar, Leighton will consult with the college’s Animal Health and Performance Program to expand and improve its detector canine breeding and development program. Faculty researchers in this program developed the internationally known, patent-pending and trademarked VAPOR WAKE technology and continue groundbreaking research efforts in olfaction and detection, as well as in veterinary sports medicine and canine breeding.

“We will be working with Dr. Leighton in a number of areas to scientifically improve canine detection through systematic improvement of genetics, which necessarily involves close collaboration between trainers and scientists,” said Dr. James Floyd, interim director of the Animal Health and Performance Program.

Leighton earned his bachelor’s degree at New Mexico State University and his master’s and PhD degrees at Iowa State University. As the Jane H. Booker Chair of Canine Genetics at The Seeing Eye Inc., in Morristown, N.J., he directs the genetics program for the oldest school in the world providing guide dogs for blind people. He is responsible for overseeing the organization’s breeding plan, including the selection of breeding animals and mating determination for a program producing more than 400 pups per year.

While at The Seeing Eye Inc., Leighton has successfully reduced or eliminated medical defects in its breeding program and has continually improved the trainability and successful employment of guide dogs through utilization of the principles of quantitative genetics. Leighton consults on genetic improvement and quantitative evaluation of a variety of commercial and research programs spanning multiple species of agricultural and companion animals.

For more information about the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, go to www.vetmed.auburn.edu.

(Contributed by Janet McCoy.)

Contact: Janet Mccoy, College of Veterinary Medicine, (334) 844-3698 (mccoyjl@auburn.edu),
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)