There is limited information describing species related pharmacogenetic differences in animals. Despite the lack of genetic information in veterinary medicine, breed specific responses to endogenous and exogenous substances have been reported across many species. This finding underscores the importance of obtaining insight into the genotypic and phenotypic variation present across breeds. This article provides a summary of the literature pertaining to canine breed differences in physiology, drug response, drug pharmacokinetics, and metabolic idiosyncrasies. The existing knowledge of pedigrees and the known phenotypes and genotypes of dogs provides important information for determining mode of inheritance, penetration, and other major characteristics of heritable traits. Understanding these breed differences will improve canine population predictions (for canine drug products) and may be of value when extrapolating toxicology data from dogs to humans.
bioavailability; breed-related differences; canine pharmacodynamics; canine pharmacogenetics; canine pharmacokinetics; drug response; population diversity
The unique breeding structure of the domestic dog makes canine genetics a useful tool to further the understanding of inherited diseases and gene function. Answers to the questions of when and where the dog was domesticated from the wolf are uncertain, but how the modern diversity of dog breeds was developed is documented. Breed development has resulted in many genetically isolated populations which are segregating for different alleles for disease and morphological and behavioral traits. Many genetic tools are available for dog research allowing investigation into the genetic basis of these phenotypes. Research into causes of diseases in dogs is relevant to humans and other species; comparative genomics is being used to transfer genetic information to them, including some studies on morphological and behavioral phenotypes. Because of the unique breed structure and well-maintained pedigrees, dogs represent a model organism containing a wealth of genetic information.
The largest genetic study to date of morphology in domestic dogs identifies genes
controlling nearly 100 morphological traits and identifies important trends in
phenotypic variation within this species.
Domestic dogs exhibit tremendous phenotypic diversity, including a greater
variation in body size than any other terrestrial mammal. Here, we generate a
high density map of canine genetic variation by genotyping 915 dogs from 80
domestic dog breeds, 83 wild canids, and 10 outbred African shelter dogs across
60,968 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Coupling this genomic resource
with external measurements from breed standards and individuals as well as
skeletal measurements from museum specimens, we identify 51 regions of the dog
genome associated with phenotypic variation among breeds in 57 traits. The
complex traits include average breed body size and external body dimensions and
cranial, dental, and long bone shape and size with and without allometric
scaling. In contrast to the results from association mapping of quantitative
traits in humans and domesticated plants, we find that across dog breeds, a
small number of quantitative trait loci (≤3) explain the majority of
phenotypic variation for most of the traits we studied. In addition, many
genomic regions show signatures of recent selection, with most of the highly
differentiated regions being associated with breed-defining traits such as body
size, coat characteristics, and ear floppiness. Our results demonstrate the
efficacy of mapping multiple traits in the domestic dog using a database of
genotyped individuals and highlight the important role human-directed selection
has played in altering the genetic architecture of key traits in this important
Dogs offer a unique system for the study of genes controlling morphology. DNA
from 915 dogs from 80 domestic breeds, as well as a set of feral dogs, was
tested at over 60,000 points of variation and the dataset analyzed using novel
methods to find loci regulating body size, head shape, leg length, ear position,
and a host of other traits. Because each dog breed has undergone strong
selection by breeders to have a particular appearance, there is a strong
footprint of selection in regions of the genome that are important for
controlling traits that define each breed. These analyses identified new regions
of the genome, or loci, that are important in controlling body size and shape.
Our results, which feature the largest number of domestic dogs studied at such a
high level of genetic detail, demonstrate the power of the dog as a model for
finding genes that control the body plan of mammals. Further, we show that the
remarkable diversity of form in the dog, in contrast to some other species
studied to date, appears to have a simple genetic basis dominated by genes of
To establish a predictive method using whole genome genotyping for early intervention in canine hip dysplasia (CHD) risk management, for the prevention of the progression of secondary osteoarthritis (OA), and for selective breeding.
Two sets of dogs (6 breeds) were genotyped with dense SNPs covering the entire canine genome. The first set contained 359 dogs upon which a predictive formula for genomic breeding value (GBV) was derived by using their estimated breeding value (EBV) of the Norberg angle (a measure of CHD) and their genotypes. To investigate how well the formula would work for an individual dog with genotype only (without using EBV or phenotype), a cross validation was performed by masking the EBV of one dog at a time. The genomic data and the EBV of the remaining dogs were used to predict the GBV for the single dog that was left out. The second set of dogs included 38 new Labrador retriever dogs, which had no pedigree relationship to the dogs in the first set.
The cross validation showed a strong correlation (r>0.7) between the EBV and the GBV. The independent validation showed a strong correlation (r=0.5) between GBV for the Norberg angle and the observed Norberg angle (no EBV was available for the new 38 dogs). Sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive value of the genomic data were all above 70%.
Prediction of CHD from genomic data is feasible, and can be applied for risk management of CHD and early selection for genetic improvement to reduce the prevalence of CHD in breeding programs. The prediction can be implemented before maturity, at which age current radiographic screening programs are traditionally applied, and as soon as DNA is available.
Canine behavioural problems, in particular aggression, are important reasons for euthanasia of otherwise healthy dogs. Aggressive behaviour in dogs also represents an animal welfare problem and a public threat. Elucidating the genetic background of adverse behaviour can provide valuable information to breeding programs and aid the development of drugs aimed at treating undesirable behaviour. With the intentions of identifying gene-specific expression in particular brain parts and comparing brains of aggressive and non-aggressive dogs, we studied amygdala, frontal cortex, hypothalamus and parietal cortex, as these tissues are reported to be involved in emotional reactions, including aggression. Based on quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in 20 brains, obtained from 11 dogs euthanised because of aggressive behaviour and nine non-aggressive dogs, we studied expression of nine genes identified in an initial screening by subtraction hybridisation.
This study describes differential expression of the UBE2V2 and ZNF227 genes in brains of aggressive and non-aggressive dogs. It also reports differential expression for eight of the studied genes across four different brain tissues (amygdala, frontal cortex, hypothalamus, and parietal cortex). Sex differences in transcription levels were detected for five of the nine studied genes.
The study showed significant differences in gene expression between brain compartments for most of the investigated genes. Increased expression of two genes was associated with the aggression phenotype. Although the UBE2V2 and ZNF227 genes have no known function in regulation of aggressive behaviour, this study contributes to preliminary data of differential gene expression in the canine brain and provides new information to be further explored.
This study reports on trends in canine and feline urolithiasis in Canada during the past 10 years. Age, sex, breed of animals and mineral composition from 40 637 canine and 11 353 feline bladder uroliths submitted to the Canadian Veterinary Urolith Centre between 1998 and 2008 were recorded. Struvite and calcium oxalate uroliths comprised > 85% of all uroliths submitted. In dogs, the number of struvite submissions has declined and the number of calcium oxalate submissions has increased. Struvite uroliths were most common in female dogs and calcium oxalate uroliths in male dogs. The shih tzu, miniature schnauzer, bichon frisé, lhasa apso, and Yorkshire terrier were the breeds most commonly affected for both struvite and calcium oxalate uroliths. Urate uroliths were most common in male dalmatians. In cats, struvite submissions declined and calcium oxalate submissions remained constant. Struvite and calcium oxalate uroliths were common in domestic, Himalayan, Persian, and Siamese cats. Urate uroliths were over-represented in Egyptian maus.
Noroviruses have emerged as the leading cause of outbreaks and sporadic cases of acute gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. Person-to-person contact and consumption of contaminated food are considered the most important ways of transmission of noroviruses however zoonotic transmission has been suggested. Recently, noroviruses have been found in dogs which, unlike bovine and swine noroviruses, may present a higher risk of zoonotic transfer, given to the often close contacts between humans and pet dogs in many societies across the world. The present paper describes a seroepidemiologic study aiming to provide information on the exposure level of humans to canine norovirus.
A case–control study was designed to address the potential exposure to canine norovirus based on the presence of antibodies against canine norovirus. Sera from veterinarians (a population repeatedly in close contact with dogs) will be collected in an annual Veterinary Sciences Congress in Portugal. In addition, sera from general population will be obtained and used as controls for comparative purposes. All sera will be tested for the presence of canine norovirus antibodies using a virus-like particle-based enzyme immune assay. Risk factors for canine norovirus antibodies presence in veterinarians will be investigated through the delivery of an anonymized questionnaire to the participants.
The present study aims to identify seropositive individuals to canine norovirus and to assess risk profiles among veterinary professionals with occupational exposure to dogs. To our knowledge this is the first study providing information on the potential zoonotic risk of canine norovirus, thus allowing the development of preventive measures and ascertaining potential risks for Public Health resulting from contact to dogs.
Canine norovirus; Occupational exposure; Zoonosis; Veterinarians; Public Health; Risk factors
Domestic dogs exhibit an extraordinary degree of morphological diversity. Such breed-to-breed variability applies equally to the canine skull, however little is known about whether this translates to systematic differences in cerebral organization. By looking at the paramedian sagittal magnetic resonance image slice of canine brains across a range of animals with different skull shapes (N = 13), we found that the relative reduction in skull length compared to width (measured by Cephalic Index) was significantly correlated to a progressive ventral pitching of the primary longitudinal brain axis (r = 0.83), as well as with a ventral shift in the position of the olfactory lobe (r = 0.81). Furthermore, these findings were independent of estimated brain size or body weight. Since brachycephaly has arisen from generations of highly selective breeding, this study suggests that the remarkable diversity in domesticated dogs' body shape and size appears to also have led to human-induced adaptations in the organization of the canine brain.
The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL) are a heterogenous group of inherited progressive neurodegenerative diseases in different mammalian species. Tibetan Terrier and Polish Owczarek Nizinny (PON) dogs show rare late-onset NCL variants with autosomal recessive inheritance, which can not be explained by mutations of known human NCL genes. These dog breeds represent animal models for human late-onset NCL. In mice the chloride channel 3 gene (Clcn3) encoding an intracellular chloride channel was described to cause a phenotype similar to NCL.
Two full-length cDNA splice variants of the canine CLCN3 gene are reported. The current canine whole genome sequence assembly was used for gene structure analyses and revealed 13 coding CLCN3 exons in 52 kb of genomic sequence. Sequence analysis of the coding exons and flanking intron regions of CLCN3 using six NCL-affected Tibetan terrier dogs and an NCL-affected Polish Owczarek Nizinny (PON) dog, as well as eight healthy Tibetan terrier dogs revealed 13 SNPs. No consistent CLCN3 haplotype was associated with NCL.
For the examined animals we excluded the complete coding region and adjacent intronic regions of canine CLCN3 to harbor disease-causing mutations. Therefore it seems to be unlikely that a mutation in this gene is responsible for the late-onset NCL phenotype in these two dog breeds.
Oculo-skeletal dysplasia segregates in two canine breeds, the Labrador retriever and samoyed, in which the causative loci have been termed drd1 and drd2, respectively. Affected dogs exhibit short-limbed dwarfism together with severe ocular defects, and this phenotype is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait in both breeds. The clinical and pathological appearance resembles human hereditary arthro-ophthalmopathies such as Stickler syndrome, or Marshall Syndrome, although these human disorders are usually dominant. Linkage studies in drd1-informative pedigrees mapped the locus to canine chromosome 24, and led to the identification of an insertional mutation in exon 1 of the gene COL9A3 that cosegregates with the disease. The drd2 locus was similarly mapped to canine chromosome 15 and shown to cosegregate with a 1,267 bp deletion mutation in the 5′ end of COL9A2. Both mutations affect the COL3 domain of the respective gene. Northern analysis showed reduced RNA expression in affected retina compared to normal. These models offer potential for studies such as protein-protein interactions between different members of the collagen gene family; regulation and expression of these genes in retina and cartilage, and even opportunities for gene therapy.
The role an individual's genetic background plays on phenotype and biological behavior of sporadic tumors remains incompletely understood. We showed previously that lymphomas from Golden Retrievers harbor defined, recurrent chromosomal aberrations that occur less frequently in lymphomas from other dog breeds, suggesting spontaneous canine tumors provide suitable models to define how heritable traits influence cancer genotypes. Here, we report a complementary approach using gene expression profiling in a naturally occurring endothelial sarcoma of dogs (hemangiosarcoma). Naturally occurring hemangiosarcomas of Golden Retrievers clustered separately from those of non-Golden Retrievers, with contributions from transcription factors, survival factors, and from pro-inflammatory and angiogenic genes, and which were exclusively present in hemangiosarcoma and not in other tumors or normal cells (i.e., they were not due simply to variation in these genes among breeds). Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 1 (VEGFR1) was among genes preferentially enriched within known pathways derived from gene set enrichment analysis when characterizing tumors from Golden Retrievers versus other breeds. Heightened VEGFR1 expression in these tumors also was apparent at the protein level and targeted inhibition of VEGFR1 increased proliferation of hemangiosarcoma cells derived from tumors of Golden Retrievers, but not from other breeds. Our results suggest heritable factors mold gene expression phenotypes, and consequently biological behavior in sporadic, naturally occurring tumors.
Hip dysplasia is a common inherited trait of dogs that results in secondary osteoarthritis. In this article the methods used to uncover the mutations contributing to this condition are reviewed, beginning with hip phenotyping. Coarse, genome-wide, microsatellite-based screens of pedigrees of greyhounds and dysplastic Labrador retrievers were used to identify linked quantitative trait loci (QTL). Fine-mapping across two chromosomes (CFA11 and 29) was employed using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. Power analyses and preferential selection of dogs for ongoing SNP-based genotyping is described with the aim of refining the QTL intervals to 1–2 megabases on these and several additional chromosomes prior to candidate gene screening. The review considers how a mutation or a genetic marker such as a SNP or haplotype of SNPs might be combined with pedigree and phenotype information to create a ‘breeding value’ that could improve the accuracy of predicting a dog’s hip conformation.
Canine hip dysplasia; Genome wide screen; Microsatellites; Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP); Breeding values
Mutations in bestrophin 1 (BEST1) are associated with a group of retinal disorders known as bestrophinopathies in man and canine multifocal retinopathies (cmr) in the dog. To date, the dog is the only large animal model suitable for the complex characterization and in-depth studies of Best-related disorders. In the first report of cmr, the disease was described in a group of mastiff-related breeds (cmr1) and the Coton de Tulear (cmr2). Additional breeds, e.g., the Lapponian herder (LH) and others, subsequently were recognized with similar phenotypes, but linked loci are unknown. Analysis of the BEST1 gene aimed to identify mutations in these additional populations and extend our understanding of genotype–phenotype associations.
Animals were subjected to routine eye exams, phenotypically characterized, and samples were collected for molecular studies. Known BEST1 mutations were assessed, and the canine BEST1 coding exons were amplified and sequenced in selected individuals that exhibited a cmr compatible phenotype but that did not carry known mutations. Resulting sequence changes were genotyped in several different breeds and evaluated in the context of the phenotype.
Seven novel coding variants were identified in exon 10 of cBEST1. Two linked mutations were associated with cmr exclusive to the LH breed (cmr3). Two individuals of Jämthund and Norfolk terrier breeds were heterozygous for two conservative changes, but these were unlikely to have disease-causing potential. Another three substitutions were found in the Bernese mountain dog that were predicted to have a deleterious effect on protein function. Previously reported mutations were excluded from segregation in these populations, but cmr1 was confirmed in another mastiff-related breed, the Italian cane corso.
A third independent canine model for human bestrophinopathies has been established in the LH breed. While exhibiting a phenotype comparable to cmr1 and cmr2, the novel cmr3 mutation is predicted to be based on a distinctly different molecular mechanism. So far cmr2 and cmr3 are exclusive to a single dog breed each. In contrast, cmr1 is found in multiple related breeds. Additional sequence alterations identified in exon 10 of cBEST1 in other breeds exhibit potential disease-causing features. The inherent genetic and phenotypic variation observed with retinal disorders in canines is complicated further by cmr3 being one of four distinct genetic retinal traits found to segregate in LH. Thus, a combination of phenotypic, molecular, and population analysis is required to establish a strong phenotype–genotype association. These results indicate that cmr has a larger impact on the general dog population than was initially suspected. The complexity of these models further confirms the similarity to human bestrophinopathies. Moreover, analyses of multiple canine models will provide additional insight into the molecular basis underlying diseases caused by mutations in BEST1.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a common inherited disease that affects dog wellbeing and causes a heavy financial and emotional burden to dog owners and breeders due to secondary hip osteoarthritis. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) initiated a program in the 1960's to radiograph hip and elbow joints and release the OFA scores to the public for breeding dogs against CHD. Over last four decades, more than one million radiographic scores have been released.
The pedigrees in the OFA database consisted of 258,851 Labrador retrievers, the major breed scored by the OFA (25% of total records). Of these, 154,352 dogs had an OFA hip score reported between 1970 and 2007. The rest of the dogs (104,499) were the ancestors of the 154,352 dogs to link the pedigree relationships. The OFA hip score is based on a 7-point scale with the best ranked as 1 (excellent) and the worst hip dysplasia as 7. A mixed linear model was used to estimate the effects of age, sex, and test year period and to predict the breeding value for each dog. Additive genetic and residual variances were estimated using the average information restricted maximum likelihood procedure. The analysis also provided an inbreeding coefficient for each dog. The hip scores averaged 1.93 (±SD = 0.59) and the heritability was 0.21. A steady genetic improvement has accrued over the four decades. The breeding values decreased (improved) linearly. By the end of 2005, the total genetic improvement was 0.1 units, which is equivalent to 17% of the total phenotypic standard deviation.
A steady genetic improvement has been achieved through the selection based on the raw phenotype released by the OFA. As the heritability of the hip score was on the low end (0.21) of reported ranges, we propose that selection based on breeding values will result in more rapid genetic improvement than breeding based on phenotypic selection alone.
The Alaskan sled dog offers a rare opportunity to investigate the development of a dog breed based solely on performance, rather than appearance, thus setting the breed apart from most others. Several established breeds, many of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), have been introduced into the sled dog population to enhance racing performance. We have used molecular methods to ascertain the constitutive breeds used to develop successful sled dog lines, and in doing so, determined the breed origins of specific performance-related behaviors.
One hundred and ninety-nine Alaskan sled dogs were genotyped using 96 microsatellite markers that span the canine genome. These data were compared to that from 141 similarly genotyped purebred dog breeds. Sled dogs were evaluated for breed composition based on a variety of performance phenotypes including speed, endurance and work ethic, and the data stratified based on population structure.
We observe that the Alaskan sled dog has a unique molecular signature and that the genetic profile is sufficient for identifying dogs bred for sprint versus distance. When evaluating contributions of existing breeds we find that the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky contributions are associated with enhanced endurance; Pointer and Saluki are associated with enhanced speed and the Anatolian Shepherd demonstrates a positive influence on work ethic.
We have established a genetic breed profile for the Alaskan sled dog, identified profile variance between sprint and distance dogs, and established breeds associated with enhanced performance attributes. These data set the stage for mapping studies aimed at finding genes that are associated with athletic attributes integral to the high performing Alaskan sled dog.
Genetic and antigenic characterization established the uniqueness of this virus circulating in dogs.
In 2004, canine influenza virus subtype H3N8 emerged in greyhounds in the United States. Subsequent serologic evidence indicated virus circulation in dog breeds other than greyhounds, but the virus had not been isolated from affected animals. In 2005, we conducted virologic investigation of 7 nongreyhound dogs that died from respiratory disease in Florida and isolated influenza subtype H3N8 virus. Antigenic and genetic analysis of A/canine/Jacksonville/2005 (H3N8) and A/canine/Miami/2005 (H3N8) found similarity to earlier isolates from greyhounds, which indicates that canine influenza viruses are not restricted to greyhounds. The hemagglutinin contained 5 conserved amino acid differences that distinguish canine from equine lineages. The antigenic homogeneity of the canine viruses suggests that measurable antigenic drift has not yet occurred. Continued surveillance and antigenic analyses should monitor possible emergence of antigenic variants of canine influenza virus.
Influenza type A virus; canine influenza; hemagglutinin gene sequence; molecular phylogeny; research
Dogs are often used as an animal model in spinal research, but consideration should be given to the breed used as chondrodystrophic (CD) dog breeds always develop IVD degeneration at an early age, whereas non-chondrodystrophic (NCD) dog breeds may develop IVD degeneration, but only later in life. The aim of this study was to provide a mechanical characterization of the NCD [non-degenerated intervertebral discs (IVDs), rich in notochordal cells] and CD (degenerated IVDs, rich in chondrocyte-like cells) canine spine before and after decompressive surgery (nucleotomy).
The biomechanical properties of multisegmented lumbar spine specimens (T13–L5 and L5–Cd1) from 2-year-old NCD dogs (healthy) and CD dogs (early degeneration) were investigated in flexion/extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR), in the native state and after nucleotomy of L2–L3 or dorsal laminectomy and nucleotomy of L7–S1. The range of motion (ROM), neutral zone (NZ), and NZ stiffness (NZS) of L1–L2, L2–L3, L6–L7, and L7–S1 were calculated.
In native spines in both dog groups, the greatest mobility in FE was found at L7–S1, and the greatest mobility in LB at L2–L3. Surgery significantly increased the ROM and NZ, and significantly decreased the NZS in FE, LB, and AR in both breed groups. However, surgery at L2–L3 resulted in a significantly larger increase in NZ and decrease in NZS in the CD spines compared with the NCD spines, whereas surgery at L7–S1 induced a significantly larger increase in ROM and decrease in NZS in the NCD spines compared with the CD spines.
Spinal biomechanics significantly differ between NCD and CD dogs and researchers should consider this aspect when using the dog as a model for spinal research.
Biomechanics; Lumbar spine; Intervertebral disc degeneration; Canine model; Nucleotomy
A canine model of Glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSDIa) is described. Affected dogs are homozygous for a previously described M121I mutation resulting in a deficiency of glucose-6-phosphatase-α. Metabolic, clinicopathologic, pathologic, and clinical manifestations of GSDIa observed in this model are described and compared to those observed in humans. The canine model shows more complete recapitulation of the clinical manifestations seen in humans including “lactic acidosis”, larger size, and longer lifespan compared to other animal models. Use of this model in preclinical trials of gene therapy is described and briefly compared to the murine model. Although the canine model offers a number of advantages for evaluating potential therapies for GSDIa, there are also some significant challenges involved in its use. Despite these challenges, the canine model of GSDIa should continue to provide valuable information about the potential for generating curative therapies for GSDIa as well as other genetic hepatic diseases.
The predictive ability of genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) originates both from associations between high-density markers and QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) and from pedigree information. Thus, GEBV are expected to provide more persistent accuracy over successive generations than breeding values estimated using pedigree-based methods. The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of GEBV in a closed population of layer chickens and to quantify their persistence over five successive generations using marker or pedigree information.
The training data consisted of 16 traits and 777 genotyped animals from two generations of a brown-egg layer breeding line, 295 of which had individual phenotype records, while others had phenotypes on 2,738 non-genotyped relatives, or similar data accumulated over up to five generations. Validation data included phenotyped and genotyped birds from five subsequent generations (on average 306 birds/generation). Birds were genotyped for 23,356 segregating SNP. Animal models using genomic or pedigree relationship matrices and Bayesian model averaging methods were used for training analyses. Accuracy was evaluated as the correlation between EBV and phenotype in validation divided by the square root of trait heritability.
Pedigree relationships in outbred populations are reduced by 50% at each meiosis, therefore accuracy is expected to decrease by the square root of 0.5 every generation, as observed for pedigree-based EBV (Estimated Breeding Values). In contrast the GEBV accuracy was more persistent, although the drop in accuracy was substantial in the first generation. Traits that were considered to be influenced by fewer QTL and to have a higher heritability maintained a higher GEBV accuracy over generations. In conclusion, GEBV capture information beyond pedigree relationships, but retraining every generation is recommended for genomic selection in closed breeding populations.
Evolution has resulted in large repertoires of olfactory receptor (OR) genes, forming the largest gene families in mammalian genomes. Knowledge of the genetic diversity of olfactory receptors is essential if we are to understand the differences in olfactory sensory capability between individuals. Canine breeds constitute an attractive model system for such investigations.
We sequenced 109 OR genes considered representative of the whole OR canine repertoire, which consists of more than 800 genes, in a cohort of 48 dogs of six different breeds. SNP frequency showed the overall level of polymorphism to be high. However, the distribution of SNP was highly heterogeneous among OR genes. More than 50% of OR genes were found to harbour a large number of SNP, whereas the rest were devoid of SNP or only slightly polymorphic. Heterogeneity was also observed across breeds, with 25% of the SNP breed-specific. Linkage disequilibrium within OR genes and OR clusters suggested a gene conversion process, consistent with a mean level of polymorphism higher than that observed for introns and intergenic sequences. A large proportion (47%) of SNP induced amino-acid changes and the Ka/Ks ratio calculated for all alleles with a complete ORF indicated a low selective constraint with respect to the high level of redundancy of the olfactory combinatory code and an ongoing pseudogenisation process, which affects dog breeds differently.
Our demonstration of a high overall level of polymorphism, likely to modify the ligand-binding capacity of receptors distributed differently within the six breeds tested, is the first step towards understanding why Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherd Dogs have a much greater potential for use as sniffer dogs than Pekingese dogs or Greyhounds. Furthermore, the heterogeneity in OR polymorphism observed raises questions as to why, in a context in which most OR genes are highly polymorphic, a subset of these genes is not? This phenomenon may be related to the nature of their ligands and their importance in everyday life.
Addison's disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, has been reported in many individual dogs, although some breeds exhibit a greater incidence than the population as a whole. Addison's is presumed to be an autoimmune mediated hereditary defect but the mode of inheritance remains unclear. In particular, the heritability and mode of inheritance have not been defined for the Portuguese Water Dog although Addison's is known to be prevalent in the breed.
The analyses present clear evidence that establishes Addison's disease as an inherited disorder in the Portuguese Water Dog with an estimate of heritability of 0.49 (± 0.16); there were no differences in risk for disease across sexes (p > 0.49). Further, the complex segregation analysis provides suggestive evidence that Addison's disease in the Portuguese Water Dog is inherited under the control of a single, autosomal recessive locus.
The high heritability and mode of inheritance of Addison's disease in the Portuguese Water Dog should enable the detection of segregating markers in a genome-wide scan and the identification of a locus linked to Addison's. Though the confirmation of Addison's disease as an autosomal recessive disorder must wait until the gene is identified, breeders of these dogs may wish to keep the present findings in mind as they plan their breeding programs to select against producing affected dogs.
Modern dog breeds display traits that are either breed-specific or shared by a few breeds as a result of genetic bottlenecks during the breed creation process and artificial selection for breed standards. Selective sweeps in the genome result from strong selection and can be detected as a reduction or elimination of polymorphism in a given region of the genome.
Extended regions of homozygosity, indicative of selective sweeps, were identified in a genome-wide scan dataset of 25 Boxers from the United Kingdom genotyped at ~20,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These regions were further examined in a second dataset of Boxers collected from a different geographical location and genotyped using higher density SNP arrays (~170,000 SNPs). A selective sweep previously associated with canine brachycephaly was detected on chromosome 1. A novel selective sweep of over 8 Mb was observed on chromosome 26 in Boxer and for a shorter region in English and French bulldogs. It was absent in 171 samples from eight other dog breeds and 7 Iberian wolf samples. A region of extended increased heterozygosity on chromosome 9 overlapped with a previously reported copy number variant (CNV) which was polymorphic in multiple dog breeds.
A selective sweep of more than 8 Mb on chromosome 26 was identified in the Boxer genome. This sweep is likely caused by strong artificial selection for a trait of interest and could have inadvertently led to undesired health implications for this breed. Furthermore, we provide supporting evidence for two previously described regions: a selective sweep on chromosome 1 associated with canine brachycephaly and a CNV on chromosome 9 polymorphic in multiple dog breeds.
Histiocytic malignancies in both humans and dogs are rare and poorly understood. While canine histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is uncommon in the general domestic dog population, there is a strikingly high incidence in a subset of breeds, suggesting heritable predisposition. Molecular cytogenetic profiling of canine HS in these breeds would serve to reveal recurrent DNA copy number aberrations (CNAs) that are breed and/or tumor associated, as well as defining those shared with human HS. This process would identify evolutionarily conserved cytogenetic changes to highlight regions of particular importance to HS biology.
Using genome wide array comparative genomic hybridization we assessed CNAs in 104 spontaneously occurring HS from two breeds of dog exhibiting a particularly elevated incidence of this tumor, the Bernese Mountain Dog and Flat-Coated Retriever. Recurrent CNAs were evaluated further by multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization and loss of heterozygosity analyses. Statistical analyses were performed to identify CNAs associated with tumor location and breed.
Almost all recurrent CNAs identified in this study were shared between the two breeds, suggesting that they are associated more with the cancer phenotype than with breed. A subset of recurrent genomic imbalances suggested involvement of known cancer associated genes in HS pathogenesis, including deletions of the tumor suppressor genes CDKN2A/B, RB1 and PTEN. A small number of aberrations were unique to each breed, implying that they may contribute to the major differences in tumor location evident in these two breeds. The most highly recurrent canine CNAs revealed in this study are evolutionarily conserved with those reported in human histiocytic proliferations, suggesting that human and dog HS share a conserved pathogenesis.
The breed associated clinical features and DNA copy number aberrations exhibited by canine HS offer a valuable model for the human counterpart, providing additional evidence towards elucidation of the pathophysiological and genetic mechanisms associated with histiocytic malignancies. Extrapolation of data derived from canine histiocytic disorders to human histiocytic proliferation may help to further our understanding of the propagation and cancerization of histiocytic cells, contributing to development of new and effective therapeutic modalities for both species.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a common, painful and debilitating orthopaedic disorder of dogs with a partly genetic, multifactorial aetiology. Worldwide, potential breeding dogs are evaluated for CHD using radiographically based screening schemes such as the nine ordinally-scored British Veterinary Association Hip Traits (BVAHTs). The effectiveness of selective breeding based on screening results requires that a significant proportion of the phenotypic variation is caused by the presence of favourable alleles segregating in the population. This proportion, heritability, was measured in a cohort of 13,124 Australian German Shepherd Dogs born between 1976 and 2005, displaying phenotypic variation for BVAHTs, using ordinal, linear and binary mixed models fitted by a Restricted Maximum Likelihood method. Heritability estimates for the nine BVAHTs ranged from 0.14–0.24 (ordinal models), 0.14–0.25 (linear models) and 0.12–0.40 (binary models). Heritability for the summed BVAHT phenotype was 0.30±0.02. The presence of heritable variation demonstrates that selection based on BVAHTs has the potential to improve BVAHT scores in the population. Assuming a genetic correlation between BVAHT scores and CHD-related pain and dysfunction, the welfare of Australian German Shepherds can be improved by continuing to consider BVAHT scores in the selection of breeding dogs, but that as heritability values are only moderate in magnitude the accuracy, and effectiveness, of selection could be improved by the use of Estimated Breeding Values in preference to solely phenotype based selection of breeding animals.
Canine multifocal retinopathy (cmr) is an autosomal recessive disorder of multiple dog breeds. The disease shares a number of clinical and pathologic similarities with Best macular dystrophy (BMD), and cmr is proposed as a new large animal model for Best disease.
cmr was characterized by ophthalmoscopy and histopathology and compared with BMD-affected patients. BEST1 (alias VMD2), the bestrophin gene causally associated with BMD, was evaluated in the dog. Canine ortholog cDNA sequence was cloned and verified using RPE/choroid 5′- and 3′-RACE. Expression of the canine gene transcripts and protein was analyzed by Northern and Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. All exons and the flanking splice junctions were screened by direct sequencing.
The clinical phenotype and pathology of cmr closely resemble lesions of BMD. Canine VMD2 spans 13.7 kb of genomic DNA on CFA18 and shows a high level of conservation among eukaryotes. The transcript is predominantly expressed in RPE/choroid and encodes bestrophin, a 580-amino acid protein of 66 kDa. Immunocytochemistry of normal canine retina demonstrated specific localization of protein to the RPE basolateral plasma membranes. Two disease-specific sequence alterations were identified in the canine VMD2 gene: a C73 T stop mutation in cmr1 and a G482A missense mutation in cmr2.
The authors propose these two spontaneous mutations in the canine VMD2 gene, which cause cmr, as the first naturally occurring animal model of BMD. Further development of the cmr models will permit elucidation of the complex molecular mechanism of these retinopathies and the development of potential therapies.