[In the player above, watch a previous New Day Cleveland segment on upcoming spring and summer camps at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.]

CLEVELAND (WJW) — One “damn fine dog” whose lifesaving feat in 1925 made him Cleveland’s most famous adopted pup is still helping advance science, nearly a century later.

New studies on mammal DNA just published in Science magazine show how certain animal species are able to do great things. These studies can help scientists better understand how parts of the human genome influence health and disease, according to a Thursday news release from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

One of the animals studied was the famed sled dog Balto, whose daring dogsled relay to deliver lifesaving medicine to a remote Alaskan town in 1925 earned him worldwide recognition. His mount remains on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The Serum Run

Balto (Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

Nearly 100 years ago, Balto led a 13-dog team on the final leg of a 674-mile dogsled relay to bring medicine to the icebound and isolated town of Nome, Alaska, which was suffering from an outbreak of diphtheria, according to the release. The so-called “Serum Run” was finished in 127 hours amid blizzard conditions and temperatures reaching -50 degrees. Afterward, the sled’s musher Gunnar Kaasen hugged Balto, repeatedly calling him a “damn fine dog.”

Balto and the other dogs on the sledding team became famous, and went on show tours for two years. But they eventually ended up at a Los Angeles dime museum, left in deplorable conditions, according to the release. Local businessman George Kimble sought to rescue the dogs, and appealed to the Cleveland community, raising the $1,500 he needed in just 10 days.

On March 19, 1927, Balto and his remaining teammates received “a hero’s welcome” in Cleveland, including a parade through Public Square, according to the release. Following his natural death in 1933, his mount went on display at the museum.

“Preserving Balto’s legacy is something we take very seriously,” Sonia Winner, museum president and CEO, is quoted in the release. “We are thrilled that such a beloved figure of the past continues to have relevance in the present. Balto’s story is also a great story about Cleveland. The generosity of Clevelanders allowed Balto and his teammates to spend the rest of their lives at the Brookside Zoo, which at one time was operated by the Museum.”

Balto (Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

The Zoonomia Project

The museum was one of 50 institutions across the world that offered up samples for The Zoonomia Project, which sequenced and compared genomes from 240 diverse mammals and used a small sample of Balto’s skin.

“The fact that the DNA from a tiny sample of Balto’s skin can provide new scientific insights is a powerful reminder of how advances in science continually allow us to glean new information from museum collections,” Gavin Svenson, the museum’s chief science officer, is quoted in the release. “Every one of the millions of objects in our Museum has the potential to reveal an important clue to a future scientist, who in turn can enhance our understanding of the past, present, and future of the world around us.”

As for Balto himself, though he was always thought to be a Siberian husky — and even rumored to be part wolf — the new DNA analysis showed he was only part husky, according to the release. He was also found to be related to other living dog lineages around the world.

“In short, Balto lived in a time when there was more diversity in dogs than there is today in modern breeds, likely making Balto better equipped to thrive in that environment,” said Heather Huson, an animal science professor at Cornell University who worked on the study.

Balto to this day remains an “icon” of the museum, according to the release.

“A shining example of triumph in the face of incredible odds, Balto also serves as a reminder of Cleveland’s philanthropic tradition — a spirit of generosity that endures in the community today,” it reads.