Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (751153)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Coat Variation in the Domestic Dog Is Governed by Variants in Three Genes 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;326(5949):150-153.
Coat color and type are essential characteristics of domestic dog breeds. Although the genetic basis of coat color has been well characterized, relatively little is known about the genes influencing coat growth pattern, length, and curl. We performed genome-wide association studies of more than 1000 dogs from 80 domestic breeds to identify genes associated with canine fur phenotypes. Taking advantage of both inter- and intrabreed variability, we identified distinct mutations in three genes, RSPO2, FGF5, and KRT71 (encoding R-spondin–2, fibroblast growth factor–5, and keratin-71, respectively), that together account for most coat phenotypes in purebred dogs in the United States. Thus, an array of varied and seemingly complex phenotypes can be reduced to the combinatorial effects of only a few genes.
PMCID: PMC2897713  PMID: 19713490
2.  Understanding the genetics of autoimmune disease: two loci that regulate late onset Addison’s disease in Portuguese Water Dogs 
Addison’s disease, an immune-mediated disorder caused by destruction of the adrenal glands, is a rare disorder of Western European populations. Studies indicate that the disorder is polygenic in nature, involving specific alleles of the CTLA-4, DRB1*04 and DQ, Cyp27B1, VDR and MIC-A and -B loci. A similar immune form of Addison’s disease occurs in several breeds of domestic dog, with frequencies ranging from 1.5 to 9.0%. The high frequency of the disease in domestic dog breeds likely reflects the small number of founders associated with many breeds, subsequent inbreeding, and the frequent use of popular sires.
The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is a significantly affected breed. An analysis of 11 384 PWDs surveyed between 1985 and 1996 suggests a breed-specific disease incidence of 1.5%. As with humans, the disease is typically of late onset.
This study involves a genetic comparison of Addison’s disease in the PWD to the analogous disease in humans. The study is facilitated by the existence of complete pedigrees and a relatively high degree of inbreeding among PWDs. The breed originated from 31 founders, with 10 animals responsible for 90% of the current gene pool. We describe, specifically, the identification of two disease-associated loci, on Canis familiaris (CFA) chromosomes CFA12 and 37, which are syntenic with the human DRB1 histocompatibility locus alleles HLA-DRB1* 04 and DRB1*0301, and to a locus for immunosuppression syntenic with CTLA-4. Strong similarities exist therefore in the complex genetic background of Addison’s disease in humans and in the PWD. With the completion of the canine and human genome sequence, the purebred dog is set to become an important comparative model for Addison’s as well as other human immune disorders.
PMCID: PMC2775482  PMID: 16712648
3.  A Simple Genetic Architecture Underlies Morphological Variation in Dogs 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(8):e1000451.
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 species.
Author Summary
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 major effect.
PMCID: PMC2919785  PMID: 20711490
4.  Intrabreed Stratification Related to Divergent Selection Regimes in Purebred Dogs May Affect the Interpretation of Genetic Association Studies 
Journal of Heredity  2009;100(Suppl 1):S28-S36.
Until recently, canine genetic research has not focused on population structure within breeds, which may confound the results of case–control studies by introducing spurious correlations between phenotype and genotype that reflect population history. Intrabreed structure may exist when geographical origin or divergent selection regimes influence the choices of potential mates for breeding dogs. We present evidence for intrabreed stratification from a genome-wide marker survey in a sample of unrelated dogs. We genotyped 76 Border Collies, 49 Australian Shepherds, 17 German Shepherd Dogs, and 17 Portuguese Water Dogs for our primary analyses using Affymetrix Canine v2.0 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Subsets of autosomal markers were examined using clustering algorithms to facilitate assignment of individuals to populations and estimation of the number of populations represented in the sample. SNPs passing stringent quality control filters were employed for explicitly phylogenetic analyses reconstructing relationships between individuals using maximum parsimony and Bayesian methods. We used simulation studies to explore the possible effects of intrabreed stratification on genome-wide association studies. These analyses demonstrate significant stratification in at least one of our primary breeds of interest, the Border Collie. Demographic and pedigree data suggest that this population substructure may result from geographic isolation or divergent selection regimes practiced by breeders with different breeding program goals. Simulation studies indicate that such stratification could result in false discovery rates significant enough to confound genome-wide association analyses. Intrabreed stratification should be accounted for when designing and interpreting the results of case–control association studies using purebred dogs.
PMCID: PMC4176315
Bayesian analysis; canine genetics; maximum parsimony; phylogenetics; population stratification; purebred dogs
5.  Polymorphisms within the canine MLPH gene are associated with dilute coat color in dogs 
BMC Genetics  2005;6:34.
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.
PMCID: PMC1183202  PMID: 15960853
6.  Fine Mapping a Locus Controlling Leg Morphology in the Domestic Dog 
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.
PMCID: PMC3508790  PMID: 19717540
7.  Canine Population Structure: Assessment and Impact of Intra-Breed Stratification on SNP-Based Association Studies 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(12):e1324.
In canine genetics, the impact of population structure on whole genome association studies is typically addressed by sampling approximately equal numbers of cases and controls from dogs of a single breed, usually from the same country or geographic area. However one way to increase the power of genetic studies is to sample individuals of the same breed but from different geographic areas, with the expectation that independent meiotic events will have shortened the presumed ancestral haplotype around the mutation differently. Little is known, however, about genetic variation among dogs of the same breed collected from different geographic regions.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this report, we address the magnitude and impact of genetic diversity among common breeds sampled in the U.S. and Europe. The breeds selected, including the Rottweiler, Bernese mountain dog, flat-coated retriever, and golden retriever, share susceptibility to a class of soft tissue cancers typified by malignant histiocytosis in the Bernese mountain dog. We genotyped 722 SNPs at four unlinked loci (between 95 and 271 per locus) on canine chromosome 1 (CFA1). We showed that each population is characterized by distinct genetic diversity that can be correlated with breed history. When the breed studied has a reduced intra-breed diversity, the combination of dogs from international locations does not increase the rate of false positives and potentially increases the power of association studies. However, over-sampling cases from one geographic location is more likely to lead to false positive results in breeds with significant genetic diversity.
These data provide new guidelines for association studies using purebred dogs that take into account population structure.
PMCID: PMC2129117  PMID: 18091995
8.  Identification of horse chestnut coat color genotype using SNaPshot® 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:255.
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.
PMCID: PMC2805676  PMID: 20015355
9.  A genetic dissection of breed composition and performance enhancement in the Alaskan sled dog 
BMC Genetics  2010;11:71.
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.
PMCID: PMC2920855  PMID: 20649949
10.  MtDNA diversity among four Portuguese autochthonous dog breeds: a fine-scale characterisation 
BMC Genetics  2005;6:37.
The picture of dog mtDNA diversity, as obtained from geographically wide samplings but from a small number of individuals per region or breed, has revealed weak geographic correlation and high degree of haplotype sharing between very distant breeds. We aimed at a more detailed picture through extensive sampling (n = 143) of four Portuguese autochthonous breeds – Castro Laboreiro Dog, Serra da Estrela Mountain Dog, Portuguese Sheepdog and Azores Cattle Dog-and comparatively reanalysing published worldwide data.
Fifteen haplotypes belonging to four major haplogroups were found in these breeds, of which five are newly reported. The Castro Laboreiro Dog presented a 95% frequency of a new A haplotype, while all other breeds contained a diverse pool of existing lineages. The Serra da Estrela Mountain Dog, the most heterogeneous of the four Portuguese breeds, shared haplotypes with the other mainland breeds, while Azores Cattle Dog shared no haplotypes with the other Portuguese breeds.
A review of mtDNA haplotypes in dogs across the world revealed that: (a) breeds tend to display haplotypes belonging to different haplogroups; (b) haplogroup A is present in all breeds, and even uncommon haplogroups are highly dispersed among breeds and continental areas; (c) haplotype sharing between breeds of the same region is lower than between breeds of different regions and (d) genetic distances between breeds do not correlate with geography.
MtDNA haplotype sharing occurred between Serra da Estrela Mountain dogs (with putative origin in the centre of Portugal) and two breeds in the north and south of the country-with the Castro Laboreiro Dog (which behaves, at the mtDNA level, as a sub-sample of the Serra da Estrela Mountain Dog) and the southern Portuguese Sheepdog. In contrast, the Azores Cattle Dog did not share any haplotypes with the other Portuguese breeds, but with dogs sampled in Northern Europe. This suggested that the Azores Cattle Dog descended maternally from Northern European dogs rather than Portuguese mainland dogs. A review of published mtDNA haplotypes identified thirteen non-Portuguese breeds with sufficient data for comparison. Comparisons between these thirteen breeds, and the four Portuguese breeds, demonstrated widespread haplotype sharing, with the greatest diversity among Asian dogs, in accordance with the central role of Asia in canine domestication.
PMCID: PMC1180824  PMID: 15972107
11.  Genomic deletion of CNGB3 is identical by descent in multiple canine breeds and causes achromatopsia 
BMC Genetics  2013;14:27.
Achromatopsia is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by the loss of cone photoreceptor function that results in day-blindness, total colorblindness, and decreased central visual acuity. The most common causes for the disease are mutations in the CNGB3 gene, coding for the beta subunit of the cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in cones. CNGB3-achromatopsia, or cone degeneration (cd), is also known to occur in two canine breeds, the Alaskan malamute (AM) and the German shorthaired pointer.
Here we report an in-depth characterization of the achromatopsia phenotype in a new canine breed, the miniature Australian shepherd (MAS). Genotyping revealed that the dog was homozygous for a complete genomic deletion of the CNGB3 gene, as has been previously observed in the AM. Identical breakpoints on chromosome 29 were identified in both the affected AM and MAS with a resulting deletion of 404,820 bp. Pooled DNA samples of unrelated purebred Australian shepherd, MAS, Siberian husky, Samoyed and Alaskan sled dogs were screened for the presence of the affected allele; one Siberian husky and three Alaskan sled dogs were identified as carriers. The affected chromosomes from the AM, MAS, and Siberian husky were genotyped for 147 SNPs in a 3.93 Mb interval within the cd locus. An identical shared affected haplotype, 0.5 Mb long, was observed in all three breeds and defined the minimal linkage disequilibrium (LD) across breeds. This supports the idea that the mutated allele was identical by descent (IBD).
We report the occurrence of CNGB3-achromatopsia in a new canine breed, the MAS. The CNGB3-deletion allele previously described in the AM was also observed in a homozygous state in the affected MAS, as well as in a heterozygous carrier state in a Siberian husky and Alaskan sled dogs. All affected alleles were shown to be IBD, strongly suggesting an affected founder effect. Since the MAS is not known to be genetically related to the AM, other breeds may potentially carry the same cd-allele and be affected by achromatopsia.
PMCID: PMC3639114  PMID: 23601474
Achromatopsia; Alaskan malamute; Alaskan sled dog; Australian shepherd; Cone degeneration; CNGB3; Day-blindness; Identical by descent; Siberian husky
12.  Interallelic and Intergenic Incompatibilities of the Prdm9 (Hst1) Gene in Mouse Hybrid Sterility 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(11):e1003044.
The Dobzhansky-Muller model of incompatibilities explains reproductive isolation between species by incorrect epistatic interactions. Although the mechanisms of speciation are of great interest, no incompatibility has been characterized at the gene level in mammals. The Hybrid sterility 1 gene (Hst1) participates in the arrest of meiosis in F1 males of certain strains from two Mus musculus subspecies, e.g., PWD from M. m. musculus and C57BL/6J (henceforth B6) from M. m. domesticus. Hst1 has been identified as a meiotic PR-domain gene (Prdm9) encoding histone 3 methyltransferase in the male offspring of PWD females and B6 males, (PWD×B6)F1. To characterize the incompatibilities underlying hybrid sterility, we phenotyped reproductive and meiotic markers in males with altered copy numbers of Prdm9. A partial rescue of fertility was observed upon removal of the B6 allele of Prdm9 from the azoospermic (PWD×B6)F1 hybrids, whereas removing one of the two Prdm9 copies in PWD or B6 background had no effect on male reproduction. Incompatibility(ies) not involving Prdm9B6 also acts in the (PWD×B6)F1 hybrids, since the correction of hybrid sterility by Prdm9B6 deletion was not complete. Additions and subtractions of Prdm9 copies, as well as allelic replacements, improved meiotic progression and fecundity also in the progeny-producing reciprocal (B6×PWD)F1 males. Moreover, an increased dosage of Prdm9 and reciprocal cross enhanced fertility of other sperm-carrying male hybrids, (PWD×B6-C3H.Prdm9)F1, harboring another Prdm9 allele of M. m. domesticus origin. The levels of Prdm9 mRNA isoforms were similar in the prepubertal testes of all types of F1 hybrids of PWD with B6 and B6-C3H.Prdm9 despite their different prospective fertility, but decreased to 53% after removal of Prdm9B6. Therefore, the Prdm9B6 allele probably takes part in posttranscriptional dominant-negative hybrid interaction(s) absent in the parental strains.
Author Summary
Disturbed gametogenesis in the progeny of two fertile parental forms is called hybrid sterility; it is an important part of reproductive barriers between species. The Dobzhansky-Muller model of incompatibilities explains reproductive isolation between species by incorrect interactions between genes. Hybrid sterility 1 (Hst1) is one of the genes causing meiotic arrest in F1 male hybrids between certain Mus musculus musculus (e.g., the PWD strain) and M. m. domesticus (C57BL/6J etc.) mice. Hst1, the first mammalian candidate for a speciation gene, was identified as a meiotic PR/SET-domain gene, Prdm9, but the mechanism causing sterility has remained unknown. While the F1 male offspring of C57BL/6J males and PWD females produce no sperm, the males from the reciprocal cross using PWD males and C57BL/6J females yield progeny. Here we show that the meiotic progress and fertility of hybrid males from both F1 crosses improved by removal as well as overexpression of the C57BL/6J allele of Prdm9, suggesting that Prdm9 interactions not present in the parental species (incompatibilities) play a role in hybrid sterility. Furthermore, the Prdm9 dosage also controlled fecundity in other F1 hybrids, indicating that this gene is an important regulator of mouse hybrid fertility.
PMCID: PMC3486856  PMID: 23133405
13.  Bilaterally Asymmetric Effects of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs): QTLs That Affect Laxity in the Right Versus Left Coxofemoral (Hip) Joints of the Dog (Canis familiaris) 
In dogs hip joint laxity that can lead to degenerative joint disease (DJD) is frequent and heritable, providing a genetic model for some aspects of the human disease. We have used Portuguese water dogs (PWDs) to identify Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that regulate laxity in the hip joint.A population of 286 PWDs, each characterized by ca. 500 molecular genetic markers, was analyzed for subluxation of the hip joint as measured by the Norberg angle, a quantitative radiographic measure of laxity. A significant directed asymmetry was observed, such that greater laxity was observed in the left than the right hip. This asymmetry was not heritable. However, the average Norberg angle was highly heritable as were the Norberg angles of either the right or left hips. After correction for pedigree effects, two QTLs were identified using the metrics of the left and right hips as separate data sets. Both are on canine chromosome 1 (CFA1), separated by about 95 Mb. One QTL, associated with the SSR marker FH2524 was significant for the left, but not the right hip. The other, associated with FH2598, was significant for the right but not the left hip. For both QTLs, some extreme phenotypes were best explained by specific interactions between haplotypes.
PMCID: PMC2778498  PMID: 14708095
quantitative trait loci (QTLs); dog; hip laxity; bilateral asymmetry; Norberg angle; Canine genetics; hip dysplasia
14.  Coat colour in dogs: identification of the Merle locus in the Australian shepherd breed 
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.
PMCID: PMC1431520  PMID: 16504149
15.  Congenital Sensorineural Deafness in Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dogs Is an Autosomal Recessive Trait That Maps to CFA10 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13364.
Congenital sensorineural deafness is an inherited condition found in many dog breeds, including Australian Stumpy-tail Cattle Dogs (ASCD). This deafness is evident in young pups and may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). The genetic locus/loci involved is unknown for all dog breeds. The aims of this study were to determine incidence, inheritance mechanism, and possible association of congenital sensorineural deafness with coat colour in ASCD and to identify the genetic locus underpinning this disease.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 315 ASCD were tested for sensorineural deafness using the brain stem auditory evoked response (BAER) test. Disease penetrance was estimated directly, using the ratio of unilaterally to bilaterally deaf dogs, and segregation analysis was performed using Mendel. A complete genome screen was undertaken using 325 microsatellites spread throughout the genome, on a pedigree of 50 BAER tested ASCD in which deafness was segregating. Fifty-six dogs (17.8%) were deaf, with 17 bilaterally and 39 unilaterally deaf. Unilaterally deaf dogs showed no significant left/right bias (p = 0.19) and no significant difference was observed in frequencies between the sexes (p = 0.18). Penetrance of deafness was estimated as 0.72. Testing the association of red/blue coat colour and deafness without accounting for pedigree structure showed that red dogs were 1.8 times more likely to be deaf (p = 0.045). The within family association between red/blue coat colour and deafness was strongly significant (p = 0.00036), with red coat colour segregating more frequently with deafness (COR = 0.48). The relationship between deafness and coat speckling approached significance (p = 0.07), with the lack of statistical significance possibly due to only four families co-segregating for both deafness and speckling. The deafness phenotype was mapped to CFA10 (maximum linkage peak on CFA10 −log10 p-value = 3.64), as was both coat colour and speckling. Fine mapping was then performed on 45 of these 50 dogs and a further 48 dogs (n = 93). Sequencing candidate gene Sox10 in 6 hearing ASCD, 2 unilaterally deaf ASCD and 2 bilaterally deaf ASCD did not reveal any disease-associated mutations.
Deafness in ASCD is an incompletely penetrant autosomal recessive inherited disease that maps to CFA10.
PMCID: PMC2953516  PMID: 20967282
16.  To the Root of the Curl: A Signature of a Recent Selective Sweep Identifies a Mutation That Defines the Cornish Rex Cat Breed 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67105.
The cat (Felis silvestris catus) shows significant variation in pelage, morphological, and behavioral phenotypes amongst its over 40 domesticated breeds. The majority of the breed specific phenotypic presentations originated through artificial selection, especially on desired novel phenotypic characteristics that arose only a few hundred years ago. Variations in coat texture and color of hair often delineate breeds amongst domestic animals. Although the genetic basis of several feline coat colors and hair lengths are characterized, less is known about the genes influencing variation in coat growth and texture, especially rexoid – curly coated types. Cornish Rex is a cat breed defined by a fixed recessive curly coat trait. Genome-wide analyses for selection (di, Tajima’s D and nucleotide diversity) were performed in the Cornish Rex breed and in 11 phenotypically diverse breeds and two random bred populations. Approximately 63K SNPs were used in the analysis that aimed to localize the locus controlling the rexoid hair texture. A region with a strong signature of recent selective sweep was identified in the Cornish Rex breed on chromosome A1, as well as a consensus block of homozygosity that spans approximately 3 Mb. Inspection of the region for candidate genes led to the identification of the lysophosphatidic acid receptor 6 (LPAR6). A 4 bp deletion in exon 5, c.250_253_delTTTG, which induces a premature stop codon in the receptor, was identified via Sanger sequencing. The mutation is fixed in Cornish Rex, absent in all straight haired cats analyzed, and is also segregating in the German Rex breed. LPAR6 encodes a G protein-coupled receptor essential for maintaining the structural integrity of the hair shaft; and has mutations resulting in a wooly hair phenotype in humans.
PMCID: PMC3694948  PMID: 23826204
17.  Identification of Genomic Regions Associated with Phenotypic Variation between Dog Breeds using Selection Mapping 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002316.
The extraordinary phenotypic diversity of dog breeds has been sculpted by a unique population history accompanied by selection for novel and desirable traits. Here we perform a comprehensive analysis using multiple test statistics to identify regions under selection in 509 dogs from 46 diverse breeds using a newly developed high-density genotyping array consisting of >170,000 evenly spaced SNPs. We first identify 44 genomic regions exhibiting extreme differentiation across multiple breeds. Genetic variation in these regions correlates with variation in several phenotypic traits that vary between breeds, and we identify novel associations with both morphological and behavioral traits. We next scan the genome for signatures of selective sweeps in single breeds, characterized by long regions of reduced heterozygosity and fixation of extended haplotypes. These scans identify hundreds of regions, including 22 blocks of homozygosity longer than one megabase in certain breeds. Candidate selection loci are strongly enriched for developmental genes. We chose one highly differentiated region, associated with body size and ear morphology, and characterized it using high-throughput sequencing to provide a list of variants that may directly affect these traits. This study provides a catalogue of genomic regions showing extreme reduction in genetic variation or population differentiation in dogs, including many linked to phenotypic variation. The many blocks of reduced haplotype diversity observed across the genome in dog breeds are the result of both selection and genetic drift, but extended blocks of homozygosity on a megabase scale appear to be best explained by selection. Further elucidation of the variants under selection will help to uncover the genetic basis of complex traits and disease.
Author Summary
There are hundreds of dog breeds that exhibit massive differences in appearance and behavior sculpted by tightly controlled selective breeding. This large-scale natural experiment has provided an ideal resource that geneticists can use to search for genetic variants that control these differences. With this goal, we developed a high-density array that surveys variable sites at more than 170,000 positions in the dog genome and used it to analyze genetic variation in 46 breeds. We identify 44 chromosomal regions that are extremely variable between breeds and are likely to control many of the traits that vary between them, including curly tails and sociality. Many other regions also bear the signature of strong artificial selection. We characterize one such region, known to associate with body size and ear type, in detail using “next-generation” sequencing technology to identify candidate mutations that may control these traits. Our results suggest that artificial selection has targeted genes involved in development and metabolism and that it may have increased the incidence of disease in dog breeds. Knowledge of these regions will be of great importance for uncovering the genetic basis of variation between dog breeds and for finding mutations that cause disease.
PMCID: PMC3192833  PMID: 22022279
18.  Genetic evaluation of Addison's disease in the Portuguese Water Dog 
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.
PMCID: PMC1481556  PMID: 16670022
19.  Disruption of chromosome 11 in canine fibrosarcomas highlights an unusual variability of CDKN2B in dogs 
In dogs in the western world neoplasia constitutes the most frequently diagnosed cause of death. Although there appear to be similarities between canine and human cancers, rather little is known about the cytogenetic and molecular alterations in canine tumours. Different dog breeds are susceptible to different types of cancer, but the genetic basis of the great majority of these predispositions has yet to be discovered. In some retriever breeds there is a high incidence of soft tissue sarcomas and we have previously reported alterations of chromosomes 11 and 30 in two poorly differentiated fibrosarcomas. Here we extend our observations and present a case report on detail rearrangements on chromosome 11 as well as genetic variations in a tumour suppressor gene in normal dogs.
BAC hybridisations on metaphases of two fibrosarcomas showed complex rearrangements on chromosome 11, and loss of parts of this chromosome. Microsatellite markers on a paired tumour and blood DNA pointed to loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 11 in the CDKN2B-CDKN2A tumour suppressor gene cluster region. PCR and sequencing revealed the homozygous loss of coding sequences for these genes, except for exon 1β of CDKN2A, which codes for the N-terminus of p14ARF. For CDKN2B exon 1, two alleles were observed in DNA from blood; one of them identical to the sequence in the dog reference genome and containing 4 copies of a 12 bp repeat found only in the canine gene amongst all species so far sequenced; the other allele was shorter due to a missing copy of the repeat. Sequencing of this exon in 141 dogs from 18 different breeds revealed a polymorphic region involving a GGC triplet repeat and a GGGGACGGCGGC repeat. Seven alleles were recorded and sixteen of the eighteen breeds showed heterozygosity.
Complex chromosome rearrangements were observed on chromosome 11 in two Labrador retriever fibrosarcomas. The chromosome alterations were reflected in the loss of sequences corresponding to two tumour suppressor genes involved in cell-cycle progression. Sequencing of CDKN2B across many different breeds revealed a widespread polymorphism within the first exon of the gene, immediately before the ankyrin coding sequences.
PMCID: PMC2732616  PMID: 19643034
20.  Genome-wide survey indicates involvement of loci on canine chromosomes 7 and 31 in patellar luxation in flat-coated retrievers 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:64.
Patellar luxation is an orthopedic disorder in which the patella moves out of its normal location within the femoral trochlea of the knee and it can lead to osteoarthritis, lameness, and pain. In dogs it is a heritable trait, with both environmental and genetic factors contributing to the phenotype. The prevalence of patellar luxation in the Dutch Flat-Coated Retriever population is 24%. In this study, we investigated the molecular genetics of the disorder in this population.
Genome-wide association analysis of 15,823 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 45 cases and 40 controls revealed that patellar luxation was significantly associated with a region on chromosome CFA07, and possibly with regions on CFA03, CFA31, and CFA36. The exons of the genes in these regions, 0.5 Mb combined, were analyzed further. These exons from 15 cases and a pooled sample from 15 controls were enriched using custom genomic hybridization arrays and analyzed by massive parallel DNA sequencing. In total 7257 variations were detected. Subsequently, a selection of 144 of these SNPs were genotyped in 95 Flat-Coated Retrievers. Nine SNPs, in eight genes on CFA07 and CFA31, were associated with patellar luxation (P <10-4). Genotyping of these SNPs in samples from a variety of breeds revealed that the disease-associated allele of one synonymous SNP in a pseudogene of FMO6 was unique to Flat-Coated Retrievers.
Genome-wide association analysis followed by targeted DNA sequencing identified loci on chromosomes 7 and 31 as being involved in patellar luxation in the Flat-Coated Retriever breed.
PMCID: PMC4046030  PMID: 24886090
Patellar luxation; Knee; Dog; Canis; Genome; Association analysis; DNA sequence
21.  Molecular cytogenetic characterization of canine histiocytic sarcoma: A spontaneous model for human histiocytic cancer identifies deletion of tumor suppressor genes and highlights influence of genetic background on tumor behavior 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:201.
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.
PMCID: PMC3121728  PMID: 21615919
22.  Protective Role of R-spondin1, an Intestinal Stem Cell Growth Factor, against Radiation-Induced Gastrointestinal Syndrome in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e8014.
Radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome (RIGS) results from a combination of direct cytocidal effects on intestinal crypt and endothelial cells and subsequent loss of the mucosal barrier, resulting in electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea, weight loss, infection and mortality. Because R-spondin1 (Rspo1) acts as a mitogenic factor for intestinal stem cells, we hypothesized that systemic administration of Rspo1 would amplify the intestinal crypt cells and accelerate the regeneration of the irradiated intestine, thereby, ameliorating RIGS.
Methods and Findings
Male C57Bl/6 mice received recombinant adenovirus expressing human R-spondin1 (AdRspo1) or E.coli Lacz (AdLacz), 1–3 days before whole body irradiation (WBI) or abdominal irradiation (AIR). Post-irradiation survival was assessed by Kaplan Meier analysis. RIGS was assessed by histological examination of intestine after hematoxilin and eosin staining, immunohistochemical staining of BrdU incorporation, Lgr5 and β-catenin expression and TUNEL staining. The xylose absorption test (XAT) was performed to evaluate the functional integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier. In order to examine the effect of R-spondin1 on tumor growth, AdRspo1 and AdLacZ was administered in the animals having palpable tumor and then exposed to AIR. There was a significant increase in survival in AdRspo1 cohorts compared to AdLacZ (p<0.003) controls, following WBI (10.4 Gy). Significant delay in tumor growth was observed after AIR in both cohorts AdRspo1 and AdLacZ but AdRspo1 treated animals showed improved survival compared to AdLacZ. Histological analysis and XAT demonstrated significant structural and functional regeneration of the intestine in irradiated animals following AdRspo1 treatment. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated an increase in Lgr5+ve crypt cells and the translocation of β-catenin from the cytosol to nucleus and upregulation of β-catenin target genes in AdRspo1-treated mice, as compared to AdLacz-treated mice.
Rspo1 promoted radioprotection against RIGS and improved survival of mice exposed to WBI. The mechanism was likely related to induction of the Wnt-β-catenin pathway and promotion of intestinal stem cell regeneration. Rspo1 has protective effect only on normal intestinal tissue but not in tumors after AIR and thereby may increase the therapeutic ratio of chemoradiation therapy in patients undergoing abdominal irradiation for GI malignancies.
PMCID: PMC2777375  PMID: 19956666
23.  Recombinant R-spondin2 and Wnt3a Up- and Down-Regulate Novel Target Genes in C57MG Mouse Mammary Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29455.
R-spondins (Rspos) comprise a family of four secreted proteins that have important roles in cell proliferation, cell fate determination and organogenesis. Rspos typically exert their effects by potentiating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. To systematically investigate the impact of Rspo/Wnt on gene expression, we performed a microarray analysis using C57MG mouse mammary epithelial cells treated with recombinant Rspo2 and/or Wnt3a. We observed the up- and down-regulation of several previously unidentified target genes, including ones that encode proteins involved in immune responses, effectors of other growth factor signaling pathways and transcription factors. Dozens of these changes were validated by quantitative real time RT-PCR. Time course experiments showed that Rspo2 typically had little or no effect on Wnt-dependent gene expression at 3 or 6 h, but enhanced expression at 24 h, consistent with biochemical data indicating that Rspo2 acts primarily to sustain rather than acutely increase Wnt pathway activation. Up-regulation of gene expression was inhibited by pre-treatment with Dickkopf1, a Wnt/β-catenin pathway antagonist, and by siRNA knockdown of β-catenin expression. While Dickkopf1 blocked Rspo2/Wnt3a-dependent down-regulation, a number of down-regulated genes were not affected by β-catenin knockdown, suggesting that in these instances down-regulation was mediated by a β-catenin-independent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3251591  PMID: 22238613
24.  SLC3A1 and SLC7A9 Mutations in Autosomal Recessive or Dominant Canine Cystinuria: A New Classification System 
Cystinuria, one of the first recognized inborn errors of metabolism, has been reported in many dog breeds.
To determine urinary cystine concentrations, inheritance and mutations in the SLC3A1 and SLC7A9 genes associated with cystinuria in 3 breeds.
Mixed and purebred Labrador Retrievers (n=6), Australian Cattle Dogs (6), Miniature Pinschers (4) and 1 mixed breed dog with cystine urolithiasis, relatives and control dogs.
Urinary cystinuria and aminoaciduria was assessed and exons of the SLC3A1 and SLC7A9 genes were sequenced from genomic DNA.
In each breed, male and female dogs, independent of neuter status, were found to form calculi. A frameshift mutation in SLC3A1 (c.350delG) resulting in a premature stop codon was identified in autosomal-recessive (AR) cystinuria in Labrador Retrievers and mixed breed dogs. A 6 bp deletion (c.1095_1100del) removing 2 threonines in SLC3A1 was found in autosomal-dominant (AD) cystinuria with a more severe phenotype in homozygous than in heterozygous Australian Cattle Dogs. A missense mutation in SLC7A9 (c.964G>A) was discovered in AD cystinuria in Miniature Pinschers with only heterozygous affected dogs observed to date. Breed specific DNA tests were developed, but the prevalence of each mutation remains unknown.
Conclusions and clinical importance
These studies describe the first AD inheritance and the first putative SLC7A9 mutation to cause cystinuria in dogs and expand our understanding of this phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous disease, leading to a new classification system for canine cystinuria and better therapeutic management and genetic control in these breeds.
PMCID: PMC3946761  PMID: 24001348
Metabolic disease; urolithiasis; nephropathy; hereditary disease
25.  The insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) contributes to reduced size in dogs 
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.
PMCID: PMC3511640  PMID: 22903739

Results 1-25 (751153)