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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
One of the salient features of the domestic cat is the aesthetics of its fur. The Selkirk Rex breed is defined by an autosomal dominant woolly rexoid hair (ADWH) abnormality that is characterized by tightly curled hair shafts. A genome-wide case – control association study was conducted using 9 curly coated Selkirk Rex and 29 controls, including straight-coated Selkirk Rex, British Shorthair and Persian, to localize the Selkirk autosomal dominant rexoid locus (SADRE). Although the control cats were from different breed lineages, they share recent breeding histories and were validated as controls by Bayesian clustering, multi-dimensional scaling and genomic inflation. A significant association was found on cat chromosome B4 (Praw = 2.87 × 10−11), and a unique haplotype spanning ~600 Kb was found in all the curly coated cats. Direct sequencing of four candidate genes revealed a splice site variant within the KRT71 gene associated with the hair abnormality in Selkirk Rex.
Rexoid, curly hair mutations have been selected to develop new domestic cat breeds. The Selkirk Rex is the most recently established curly-coated cat breed originating from a spontaneous mutation that was discovered in the United States in 1987. Unlike the earlier and well-established Cornish and Devon Rex breeds with curly-coat mutations, the Selkirk Rex mutation is suggested as autosomal dominant and has a different curl phenotype. This study provides a genetic analysis of the Selkirk Rex breed. An informal segregation analysis of genetically proven matings supported an autosomal, incomplete dominant expression of the curly trait in the Selkirk Rex. Homozygous curl cats can be distinguished from heterozygous cats by head and body type, as well as the presentation of the hair curl. Bayesian clustering of short tandem repeat (STR) genotypes from 31 cats that represent the future breeding stock supported the close relationship of the Selkirk Rex to the British Shorthair, Scottish Fold, Persian, and Exotic Shorthair, suggesting the Selkirk as part of the Persian breed family. The high heterozygosity of 0.630 and the low mean inbreeding coefficient of 0.057 suggest that Selkirk Rex has a diverse genetic foundation. A new locus for Selkirk autosomal dominant Rex, SADRE, is suggested for the curly trait.
curly; dominant; feline; hair
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.
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.
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.
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.
The R-Spondin (RSpo) family of secreted proteins is implicated in the activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Despite the high structural homology between the four members, expression patterns and phenotypes in knockout mice have demonstrated striking differences. Here we dissected and compared the molecular and cellular function of all RSpo family members. Although all four RSpo proteins activate the canonical Wnt pathway, RSpo2 and 3 are more potent than RSpo1, whereas RSpo4 is relatively inactive. All RSpo members require Wnt ligands and LRP6 for activity and amplify signaling of Wnt3A, Wnt1, and Wnt7A, suggesting that RSpo proteins are general regulators of canonical Wnt signaling. Like RSpo1, RSpo2-4 antagonize DKK1 activity by interfering with DKK1 mediated LRP6 and Kremen association. Analysis of RSpo deletion mutants indicates that the cysteine-rich furin domains are sufficient and essential for the amplification of Wnt signaling and inhibition of DKK1, suggesting that Wnt amplification by RSpo proteins may be a direct consequence of DKK1 inhibition. Together, these findings indicate that RSpo proteins modulate the Wnt pathway by a common mechanism and suggest that coexpression with specific Wnt ligands and DKK1 may determine their biological specificity in vivo.
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.
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 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.
Zinc RING finger 3 (ZNRF3) and its homolog RING finger 43 (RNF43) antagonize Wnt signaling in adult stem cells by ubiquitinating Frizzled receptors (FZD), which leads to endocytosis of the Wnt receptor. Conversely, binding of ZNRF3/RNF43 to LGR4-6 – R-spondin blocks Frizzled ubiquitination and enhances Wnt signaling. Here, we present crystal structures of the ZNRF3 ectodomain and its complex with R-spondin 1 (RSPO1). ZNRF3 binds RSPO1 and LGR5-RSPO1 with micromolar affinity via RSPO1 furin-like 1 (Fu1) domain. Anonychia-related mutations in RSPO4 support the importance of the observed interface. The ZNRF3-RSPO1 structure resembles that of LGR5-RSPO1-RNF43, though Fu2 of RSPO1 is variably oriented. The ZNRF3-binding site overlaps with trans-interactions observed in 2:2 LGR5-RSPO1 complexes, thus binding of ZNRF3/RNF43 would disrupt such an arrangement. Sequence conservation suggests a single ligand-binding site on ZNRF3, consistent with the proposed competing binding role of ZNRF3/RNF43 in Wnt signaling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In mammals, R-spondin (Rspo), an activator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, has been shown to be involved in ovarian differentiation. However, the role of the Rspo/Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in fish gonads is still unknown.
In the present study, full-length cDNAs of Rspo1, 2 and 3 were cloned from the gonads of medaka (Oryzias latipes). The deduced amino acid sequences of mRspo1-3 were shown to have a similar structural organization. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Rspo1, 2 and 3 were specifically clustered into three distinct clads. Tissue distribution revealed that three Rspo genes were abundantly expressed in the brain and ovary. Real-time PCR analysis around hatching (S33-5dah) demonstrated that three Rspo genes were specifically enhanced in female gonads from S38. In situ hybridization (ISH) analysis demonstrated that three Rspo genes were expressed in the germ cell in ovary, but not in testis. Fluorescence multi-color ISH showed that Rspo1 was expressed in both somatic cells and germ cells at 10dah. Exposure to ethinylestradiol (EE2) in XY individuals for one week dramatically enhanced the expression of three Rspo genes both at 0dah and in adulthood.
These results suggest that the Rspo-activating signaling pathway is involved in the ovarian differentiation and maintenance in medaka.
Rspo1, 2, 3; Molecular cloning; Expression profiles; Ovarian differentiation
Gene frequencies of coat colour and horn types were assessed in 22 Nordic cattle breeds in a project aimed at establishing genetic profiles of the breeds under study. The coat colour loci yielding information on genetic variation were: extension, agouti, spotting, brindle, dun dilution and colour sided. The polled locus was assessed for two alleles. A profound variation between breeds was observed in the frequencies of both colour and horn alleles, with the older breeds generally showing greater variation in observed colour, horn types and segregating alleles than the modern breeds. The correspondence between the present genetic distance matrix and previous molecular marker distance matrices was low (r = 0.08 – 0.12). The branching pattern of a neighbour-joining tree disagreed to some extent with the molecular data structure. The current data indicates that 70% of the total genetic variation could be explained by differences between the breeds, suggesting a much greater breed differentiation than typically found at protein and microsatellite loci. The marked differentiation of the cattle breeds and observed disagreements with the results from the previous molecular data in the topology of the phylogenetic trees are most likely a result of selection on phenotypic characters analysed in this study.
cattle; coat colour; horns
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.
quantitative trait loci (QTLs); dog; hip laxity; bilateral asymmetry; Norberg angle; Canine genetics; hip dysplasia
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