We recently showed that genes at 3 loci account for the majority of variation in canine fur. Allelic variation at genes controlling length of fur, texture, and curl is responsible for the striking phenotypic variety observed among purebred dogs in the United States today. In this paper, we investigate the phenomenon of “improper coat” (IC) or a coat that is not typical of the breed. IC is occasionally observed among specific breeds, such as the Portuguese Water Dog (PWD), and is characterized by short hair on the head, face, and lower legs, rather than a thick and even coat covering the whole body. The IC is reminiscent of that observed on the curly or flat-coated retriever, thus making such dogs unable to compete effectively in conformation events. We have found that the presence of the wild-type allele, rather than the expected variant allele at the R-spondin 2 (RSPO2) gene, accounts for this phenotype. The development of a genetic test that distinguishes these 2 allelic types would allow breeders to easily avoid producing PWD with ICs.
fur; furnishings; genetics; morphology; mutation
Pinschers and other dogs with coat color dilution show a characteristic pigmentation phenotype. The fur colors are a lighter shade, e.g. silvery grey (blue) instead of black and a sandy color (Isabella fawn) instead of red or brown. In some dogs the coat color dilution is sometimes accompanied by hair loss and recurrent skin inflammation, the so called color dilution alopecia (CDA) or black hair follicular dysplasia (BHFD). In humans and mice a comparable pigmentation phenotype without any documented hair loss is caused by mutations within the melanophilin gene (MLPH).
We sequenced the canine MLPH gene and performed a mutation analysis of the MLPH exons in 6 Doberman Pinschers and 5 German Pinschers. A total of 48 sequence variations was identified within and between the breeds. Three families of dogs showed co-segregation for at least one polymorphism in an MLPH exon and the dilute phenotype. No single polymorphism was identified in the coding sequences or at splice sites that is likely to be causative for the dilute phenotype of all dogs examined. In 18 German Pinschers a mutation in exon 7 (R199H) was consistently associated with the dilute phenotype. However, as this mutation was present in homozygous state in four dogs of other breeds with wildtype pigmentation, it seems unlikely that this mutation is truly causative for coat color dilution. In Doberman Pinschers as well as in Large Munsterlanders with BHFD, a set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) around exon 2 was identified that show a highly significant association to the dilute phenotype.
This study provides evidence that coat color dilution is caused by one or more mutations within or near the MLPH gene in several dog breeds. The data on polymorphisms that are strongly associated with the dilute phenotype will allow the genetic testing of Pinschers to facilitate the breeding of dogs with defined coat colors and to select against Large Munsterlanders carrying BHFD.
Coat color in dog breeds is an excellent character for revealing the power of artificial selection, as it is extremely diverse and likely the result of recent domestication. Coat color is generated by melanocytes, which synthesize pheomelanin (a red or yellow pigment) or eumelanin (a black or brown pigment) through the pigment type-switching pathway, and is regulated by three genes in dogs: MC1R (melanocortin receptor 1), CBD103 (β-defensin 103), and ASIP (agouti-signaling protein precursor). The genotypes of these three gene loci in dog breeds are associated with coat color pattern. Here, we resequenced these three gene loci in two Kunming dog populations and analyzed these sequences using population genetic approaches to identify evolutionary patterns that have occurred at these loci during the recent domestication and breeding of the Kunming dog. The analysis showed that MC1R undergoes balancing selection in both Kunming dog populations, and that the Fst value for MC1R indicates significant genetic differentiation across the two populations. In contrast, similar results were not observed for CBD103 or ASIP. These results suggest that high heterozygosity and allelic differences at the MC1R locus may explain both the mixed color coat, of yellow and black, and the difference in coat colors in both Kunming dog populations.
Domestic dog breeds have undergone intense selection for a variety of morphologic features, including size. Among small-dog breeds, defined as those averaging less than ~15 in. at the withers, there remains still considerable variation in body size. Yet essentially all such dogs are fixed for the same allele at the insulin-like growth factor 1 gene, which we and others previously found to be a size locus of large effect. In this study we sought to identify additional genes that contribute to tiny size in dogs using an association scan with the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) dataset CanMap, in which 915 purebred dogs were genotyped at 60,968 SNP markers. Our strongest association for tiny size (defined as breed-average height not more than 10 in. at the withers) was on canine chromosome 3 (p = 1.9 × 10−70). Fine mapping revealed a nonsynonymous SNP at chr3:44,706,389 that changes a highly conserved arginine at amino acid 204 to histidine in the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R). This mutation is predicted to prevent formation of several hydrogen bonds within the cysteine-rich domain of the receptor’s ligand-binding extracellular subunit. Nine of 13 tiny dog breeds carry the mutation and many dogs are homozygous for it. This work underscores the central importance of the IGF1 pathway in controlling the tremendous size diversity of dogs.
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
The Cantabrian Coast horse breeds of the Iberian Peninsula have mainly black or bay colored coats, but alleles responsible for a chestnut coat color run in these breeds and occasionally, chestnut horses are born. Chestnut coat color is caused by two recessive alleles, e and ea, of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene, whereas the presence of the dominant, wild-type E allele produces black or bay coat horses. Because black or bay colored coats are considered as the purebred phenotype for most of the breeds from this region, it is important to have a fast and reliable method to detect alleles causing chestnut coat color in horses.
In order to assess coat color genotype in reproductive animals with a view to avoiding those bearing chestnut alleles, we have developed a reliable, fast and cost-effective screening device which involves Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) detection based on SNaPshot® (Applied Biosystems) methodology. We have applied this method to four native breeds from the Iberian Cantabrian Coast: Pottoka and Jaca Navarra pony breeds, in which only black or bay coats are acceptable, and Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zaldia and Burguete heavy breeds, in which chestnut coats are acceptable. The frequency of the chestnut alleles ranged between f = 0.156-0.322 in pony breeds and between f = 0.604-0.716 in heavy breeds.
This study demonstrates the usefulness of the DNA methodology reported herein as a device for identifying chestnut alleles; the methodology constitutes a valuable tool for breeders to decrease the incidence of chestnut animals among Cantabrian Coast pony breeds.
Hair is a unique structure, characteristic of mammals, controlling body homeostasis, as well as cell and tissue integration. Previous studies in dog, mouse, and rat have identified polymorphisms in Keratin 71 (KRT71) as responsible for the curly/wavy phenotypes. The coding sequence and the 3′ UTR of KRT71 were directly sequenced in randomly bred and pedigreed domestic cats with different pelage mutations, including hairless varieties. A SNP altering a splice site was identified in the Sphynx breed and suggested to be the hairless (hr) allele, and a complex sequence alteration, also causing a splice variation, was identified in the Devon Rex breed and suggested to be the curly (re) allele. The polymorphisms were genotyped in approximately 200 cats. All the Devon Rex were homozygous for the complex alterations and most of the Sphynx were either homozygous for the hr allele or compound heterozygotes with the Devon-associated re allele, suggesting that the phenotypes are a result of the identified SNPs. Two Sphynx carrying the proposed hr mutation did not carry the Devon-associated alteration. No other causative mutations for eight different rexoid and hairless cat phenotypes were identified. The allelic series KRT71+ > KRT71hr > KRT71re is suggested.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00335-010-9290-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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.
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 R-spondin (Rspo) family of protein consists of secreted cysteine-rich proteins that can activate β-catenin signaling via the Frizzled/LRP5/6 receptor complex. Here, we report that targeted inactivation of the mouse Rspo2 gene causes developmental limb defects, especially in the hindlimb. Although the initiation of the expression of apical ectodermal ridge (AER)-specific genes including fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF8) and FGF4, occurred normally, the maintenance of these marker expressions was significantly defective in the hindlimb of Rspo2(-/-) mice. Consistent with the ligand role of R-spondins in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, expression of Axin2 and Sp8, targets for β-catenin signaling, within AER was greatly reduced in Rspo2(-/-) embryos. Furthermore, sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling within the hindlimbs of Rspo2(-/-) mice was also significantly decreased. Rspo2 is expressed in the AER of all limb buds, however the stunted phenotype is significantly more severe in the hindlimbs than the forelimbs, and strongly biased to the left side. Our findings strongly suggest that Rspo2 expression in the AER is required for AER maintenance likely by regulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
R-spondin2; Wnt; β-catenin; Axin2; FGF8; shh; AER; limb development
There are currently about 80 different DNA tests available for mutations that are associated with inherited disease in the domestic dog, and as the tools available with which to dissect the canine genome become increasingly sophisticated, this number can be expected to rise dramatically over the next few years. With unrelenting media pressure focused firmly on the health of the purebred domestic dog, veterinarians and dog breeders are turning increasingly to DNA tests to ensure the health of their dogs. It is ultimately the responsibility of the scientists who identify disease-associated genetic variants to make sensible choices about which discoveries are appropriate to develop into commercially available DNA tests for the lay dog breeder, who needs to balance the need to improve the genetic health of their breed with the need to maintain genetic diversity. This review discusses some of the factors that should be considered along the route from mutation discovery to DNA test and some representative examples of DNA tests currently available.
Retrotransposition of processed mRNAs is a frequent source of novel sequence acquired during the evolution of genomes. The vast majority of retroposed gene copies are inactive pseudogenes that rapidly acquire mutations that disrupt the reading frame, while precious few are conserved to become new genes. Utilizing a multi-breed association analysis in the domestic dog, we demonstrate that a recently acquired fgf4 retrogene causes chondrodysplasia, a short-legged phenotype that defines several common dog breeds including the dachshund, corgi and basset hound. The discovery that a single evolutionary event underlies a breed-defining phenotype for 19 diverse dog breeds demonstrates the importance of unique mutational events in constraining and directing phenotypic diversity in the domestic dog.
Since the beginnings of domestication, the craniofacial architecture of the domestic dog has morphed and radiated to human whims. By beginning to define the genetic underpinnings of breed skull shapes, we can elucidate mechanisms of morphological diversification while presenting a framework for understanding human cephalic disorders. Using intrabreed association mapping with museum specimen measurements, we show that skull shape is regulated by at least five quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Our detailed analysis using whole-genome sequencing uncovers a missense mutation in BMP3. Validation studies in zebrafish show that Bmp3 function in cranial development is ancient. Our study reveals the causal variant for a canine QTL contributing to a major morphologic trait.
As a result of selective breeding practices, modern dogs display a multitude of head shapes. Breeds such as the Pug and Bulldog popularize one of these morphologies, termed “brachycephaly.” A short, upward-pointing snout, a massive and rounded head, and an underbite typify brachycephalic breeds. Here, we have coupled the phenotypes collected from museum skulls with the genotypes collected from dogs and identified five regions of the dog genome that are associated with canine brachycephaly. Fine mapping at one of these regions revealed a causal mutation in the gene BMP3. Bmp3's role in regulating cranial development is evolutionarily ancient, as zebrafish require its function to generate a normal craniofacial morphology. Our data begin to expose the genetic mechanisms unknowingly employed by breeders to create and diversify the cranial shape of dogs.
Artificial selection has caused rapid evolution in domesticated species. The identification of selection footprints across domesticated genomes can contribute to uncover the genetic basis of phenotypic diversity.
Genome wide footprints of pig domestication and selection were identified using massive parallel sequencing of pooled reduced representation libraries (RRL) representing ∼2% of the genome from wild boar and four domestic pig breeds (Large White, Landrace, Duroc and Pietrain) which have been under strong selection for muscle development, growth, behavior and coat color. Using specifically developed statistical methods that account for DNA pooling, low mean sequencing depth, and sequencing errors, we provide genome-wide estimates of nucleotide diversity and genetic differentiation in pig. Widespread signals suggestive of positive and balancing selection were found and the strongest signals were observed in Pietrain, one of the breeds most intensively selected for muscle development. Most signals were population-specific but affected genomic regions which harbored genes for common biological categories including coat color, brain development, muscle development, growth, metabolism, olfaction and immunity. Genetic differentiation in regions harboring genes related to muscle development and growth was higher between breeds than between a given breed and the wild boar.
These results, suggest that although domesticated breeds have experienced similar selective pressures, selection has acted upon different genes. This might reflect the multiple domestication events of European breeds or could be the result of subsequent introgression of Asian alleles. Overall, it was estimated that approximately 7% of the porcine genome has been affected by selection events. This study illustrates that the massive parallel sequencing of genomic pools is a cost-effective approach to identify footprints of selection.
The domestic dog offers a remarkable opportunity to disentangle the genetics of complex phenotypes. Here, we explore a locus, previously identified in the Portuguese water dog (PWD), associated with PC2, a morphological principal component characterized as leg width versus leg length. The locus was initially mapped to a region of 26 Mb on canine chromosome 12 (CFA12) following a genome-wide scan. Subsequent and extensive genotyping of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotype analysis in both the PWD and selected breeds representing phenotypic extremes of PC2 reduced the region from 26 Mb to 500 kb. The proximity of the critical interval to two collagen genes suggests that the phenotype may be controlled by cis-acting mechanisms.
The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) segregates more naturally-occurring diseases and phenotypic variation than any other species and has become established as an unparalled model with which to study the genetics of inherited traits. We used a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and targeted resequencing of DNA from just five dogs to simultaneously map and identify mutations for two distinct inherited disorders that both affect a single breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We investigated episodic falling (EF), a paroxysmal exertion-induced dyskinesia, alongside the phenotypically distinct condition congenital keratoconjunctivitis sicca and ichthyosiform dermatosis (CKCSID), commonly known as dry eye curly coat syndrome. EF is characterised by episodes of exercise-induced muscular hypertonicity and abnormal posturing, usually occurring after exercise or periods of excitement. CKCSID is a congenital disorder that manifests as a rough coat present at birth, with keratoconjunctivitis sicca apparent on eyelid opening at 10–14 days, followed by hyperkeratinisation of footpads and distortion of nails that develops over the next few months. We undertook a GWAS with 31 EF cases, 23 CKCSID cases, and a common set of 38 controls and identified statistically associated signals for EF and CKCSID on chromosome 7 (Praw 1.9×10−14; Pgenome = 1.0×10−5) and chromosome 13 (Praw 1.2×10−17; Pgenome = 1.0×10−5), respectively. We resequenced both the EF and CKCSID disease-associated regions in just five dogs and identified a 15,724 bp deletion spanning three exons of BCAN associated with EF and a single base-pair exonic deletion in FAM83H associated with CKCSID. Neither BCAN or FAM83H have been associated with equivalent disease phenotypes in any other species, thus demonstrating the ability to use the domestic dog to study the genetic basis of more than one disease simultaneously in a single breed and to identify multiple novel candidate genes in parallel.
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is expressed in the growth plate of endochondral bones and serves as a negative regulator of linear bone elongation. Activating mutations severely limit bone growth, resulting in dwarfism, while inactivating mutations significantly enhance bone elongation and overall skeletal size. Domesticated dogs exhibit the greatest skeletal size diversity of any species and, given the regulatory role of FGFR3 on growth plate proliferation, we asked whether sequence differences in FGFR3 could account for some of the size differences.
All exons, the promoter region, and 60 bp of the 3' flanking region of the canine FGFR3 gene were sequenced for nine different dog breeds representing a spectrum of skeletal size. The resultant sequences were compared to the reference Boxer genome sequence.
There was no variation in sequence for any FGFR3 exons, promoter region, or 3' flanking sequence across all breeds evaluated.
The results suggest that, regardless of domestication selection pressure to develop breeds having extreme differences in skeletal size, the FGFR3 gene is conserved. This implies a critical role for this gene in normal skeletal integrity and indicates that other genes account for size variability in dogs.
High-quality sequencing of the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) genome has enabled enormous progress in genetic mapping of canine phenotypic variation. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes), another canid species, also exhibits a wide range of variation in coat color, morphology, and behavior. Although the fox genome has not yet been sequenced, canine genomic resources have been used to construct a meiotic linkage map of the red fox genome and begin genetic mapping in foxes. However, a more detailed gene-specific comparative map between the dog and fox genomes is required to establish gene order within homologous regions of dog and fox chromosomes and to refine breakpoints between homologous chromosomes of the 2 species. In the current study, we tested whether canine-derived gene–containing bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones can be routinely used to build a gene-specific map of the red fox genome. Forty canine BAC clones were mapped to the red fox genome by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Each clone was uniquely assigned to a single fox chromosome, and the locations of 38 clones agreed with cytogenetic predictions. These results clearly demonstrate the utility of FISH mapping for construction of a whole-genome gene-specific map of the red fox. The further possibility of using canine BAC clones to map genes in the American mink (Mustela vison) genome was also explored. Much lower success was obtained for this more distantly related farm-bred species, although a few BAC clones were mapped to the predicted chromosomal locations.
Canis lupus familiaris; comparative genomics; FISH; Mustela vison; Vulpes vulpes
The domestic dog exhibits greater diversity in body size than any other terrestrial vertebrate. We used a strategy that exploits the breed structure of dogs to investigate the genetic basis of size. First, through a genome-wide scan, we identified a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) on chromosome 15 influencing size variation within a single breed. Second, we examined genetic variation in the 15-megabase interval surrounding the QTL in small and giant breeds and found marked evidence for a selective sweep spanning a single gene (IGF1), encoding insulin-like growth factor 1. A single IGF1 single-nucleotide polymorphism haplotype is common to all small breeds and nearly absent from giant breeds, suggesting that the same causal sequence variant is a major contributor to body size in all small dogs.
The distinctive coat pattern of a Dalmatian is the result of the interaction of several loci. While the encoded function of these genes is not fully understood, it is known the Piebald, Ticking, and Flecking loci interact to produce the Dalmatian's classic pigmented spots on a white background. The color of the pigmented spots in purebred Dalmatians can either be black or liver, but the locus responsible for color determination is unknown. Studies have been conducted to determine the underlying genes involved in coat color determination in the dog, e.g., in the Labrador Retriever, but none to date have addressed black versus liver in the Dalmatian.
A genome scan was conducted in a multi-generational kindred of Dalmatians segregating black and liver spot color. Linkage analysis was performed using a total of 113 polymorphic microsatellite markers from the kindred. Linkage was found between spot color and a single microsatellite marker, FH2319 (LOD = 12.5) on chromosome 11.
The TYRP1 (Brown) locus is located at position 50.1 Mb on chromosome 11, which is approximately 0.4 Mb from marker FH2319. Given the recent characterization of TYRP1 genetic variations in the dog and the linkage evidence reported here, TYRP1 is likely responsible for the spot color variation of black versus liver seen in the Dalmatian.
Coat colours in canines have many natural phenotypic variants. Some of the genes and alleles involved also cause genetic developmental defects, which are also observed in humans and mice. We studied the genetic bases of the merle phenotype in dogs to shed light on the pigmentation mechanisms and to identify genes involved in these complex pathways. The merle phenotype includes a lack of eumelanic pigmentation and developmental defects, hearing impairments and microphthalmia. It is similar to that observed in microphthalmia mouse mutants.
Taking advantage of the dog as a powerful genetic model and using recently available genomic resources, we investigated the segregation of the merle phenotype in a five-generation pedigree, comprising 96 sampled Australian shepherd dogs. Genetic linkage analysis allowed us to identify a locus for the merle phenotype, spanning 5.5 megabases, at the centromeric tip of canine chromosome 10 (CFA10). This locus was supported by a Lod score of 15.65 at a recombination fraction θ = 0. Linkage analysis in three other breeds revealed that the same region is linked to the merle phenotype. This region, which is orthologous to human chromosome 12 (HSA12 q13-q14), belongs to a conserved ordered segment in the human and mouse genome and comprises several genes potentially involved in pigmentation and development.
This study has identified the locus for the merle coat colour in dogs to be at the centromeric end of CFA10. Genetic studies on other breeds segregating the merle phenotype should allow the locus to be defined more accurately with the aim of identifying the gene. This work shows the power of the canine system to search for the genetic bases of mammalian pigmentation and developmental pathways.
A retrospective study was made to demonstrate normal variations of the color and size of the tapetal area and color of the nontapetal area in the ocular fundus in dogs, correlating them to breed, age and coat color.
The study was based on protocols of five hundred and thirty-nine adult dogs describing eye examinations made during the years 1997-2001. The dogs were examined using an indirect ophthalmoscope in order to find heritable eye diseases. The following characteristics were recorded: breed; age; coat color; color and size of the tapetal area and color of the nontapetal area. Normal color variations in the fundus were studied and categorized with regard to breed, age and coat color. Chi-square analysis was used comparing distributions between factors. Differences between mean values were analysed with Student's t-test or one-way-ANOVA. A logistic regression analysis was performed on the color of the tapetal area with the color of the coat and breed.
Twenty breeds were represented. The mean age was 42.8 months. The most common colors of the tapetal area were yellow-green and orange, and the most common colors of the nontapetal area were dark brown and black. The analysis revealed that coat-color and breed concomitantly did not significantly influence tapetal color. Brown coated dogs often had a striped red and brown nontapetal area. The color of the tapetal area influenced the color of the nontapetal area. Smaller-sized breeds (such as Papillon) had a smaller tapetal area. A tapetal area was completely absent in 1.9%. The age did not influence the color of the tapetal area.
Color of the tapetal area was influenced by both coat color and breed, but neither of these was statistically more influential than the other. The color of the tapetal area influenced the color of the nontapetal area. The size of the tapetal area correlated to breed and to body size.
Comparison of the expression profiles of 2,721 genes in the cerebellum, cortex and pituitary gland of three American Staffordshire terriers, one beagle and one fox hound revealed regional expression differences in the brain but failed to reveal marked differences among breeds, or even individual dogs. Approximately 85 per cent (42 of 49 orthologue comparisons) of the regional differences in the dog are similar to those that differentiate the analogous human brain regions. A smaller percentage of human differences were replicated in the dog, particularly in the cortex, which may generally be evolving more rapidly than other brain regions in mammals. This study lays the foundation for detailed analysis of the population structure of transcriptional variation as it relates to cognitive and neurological phenotypes in the domestic dog.
canine; breed; microarray; cerebellum; cortex; pituitary
A selective sweep containing the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) gene is associated with size variation in domestic dogs. Intron 2 of IGF1 contains a SINE element and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) found in all small dog breeds that is almost entirely absent from large breeds. In this study, we surveyed a large sample of grey wolf populations to better understand the ancestral pattern of variation at IGF1 with a particular focus on the distribution of the small dog haplotype and its relationship to the origin of the dog.
We present DNA sequence data that confirms the absence of the derived small SNP allele in the intron 2 region of IGF1 in a large sample of grey wolves and further establishes the absence of a small dog associated SINE element in all wild canids and most large dog breeds. Grey wolf haplotypes from the Middle East have higher nucleotide diversity suggesting an origin there. Additionally, PCA and phylogenetic analyses suggests a closer kinship of the small domestic dog IGF1 haplotype with those from Middle Eastern grey wolves.
The absence of both the SINE element and SNP allele in grey wolves suggests that the mutation for small body size post-dates the domestication of dogs. However, because all small dogs possess these diagnostic mutations, the mutations likely arose early in the history of domestic dogs. Our results show that the small dog haplotype is closely related to those in Middle Eastern wolves and is consistent with an ancient origin of the small dog haplotype there. Thus, in concordance with past archeological studies, our molecular analysis is consistent with the early evolution of small size in dogs from the Middle East.
See associated opinion by Driscoll and Macdonald: http://jbiol.com/content/9/2/10
Using 27 body measurements, we have identified 13 breed-defining metrics for 109 of 159 domestic dog breeds, most of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The data set included 1,155 dogs at least 1 year old (average 5.4 years), and for 53 breed populations, complete measurement data were collected from at least three males and three females. We demonstrate, first, that AKC breed standards are rigorously adhered to for most domestic breeds with little variation observed within breeds. Second, Rensch’s rule, which describes a scaling among taxa such that sexual dimorphism is greater among larger species if males are the larger sex, with less pronounced differences in male versus female body size in smaller species, is not maintained in domestic dog breeds because the proportional size difference between males and females of small and large breeds is essentially the same. Finally, principal components (PCs) analysis describes both the overall body size (PC1) and the shape (length versus width) of the skeleton (PC2). That the integrity of the data set is sufficiently rich to discern PCs has strong implications for mapping studies, suggesting that individual measurements may not be needed for genetic studies of morphologic traits, particularly in the case of breed-defining traits that are typically under strong selection. Rather, phenotypes derived from data sets such as these, collected at a fraction of the effort and cost, may be used to direct whole-genome association studies aimed at understanding the genetic basis of fixed morphologic phenotypes defining distinct dog breeds.