The worldwide dog population is fragmented into >350 domestic breeds. Breeds share a common ancestor, the gray wolf. The intense artificial selection imposed by humans to develop breeds with particular behaviors and phenotypic traits has occurred primarily in the last 200–300 years. As a result, the number of genes controlling the major differences in body size, leg length, head shape, etc. that define each dog is small, and genetically tractable. This is in comparison to many human complex traits where small amounts of variance are controlled by literally hundreds of genes. We have been interested in disentangling the genetic mechanisms controlling breed-defining morphological traits in the domestic dog. The structure of the dog population, comprised large numbers of pure breeding populations, makes this task surprisingly doable. In this review, we summarize recent work on the genetics of body size, leg length and skull shape, while setting the stage for tackling other traits. It is our expectation that these results will contribute to a better understanding of mammalian developmental processes overall.
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most frequently diagnosed solid tumor in U.S. men. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 40 risk-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including variants in androgen pathway genes (e.g., KLK3 and AR). Androgens are important in PC and genes involved in this pathway are therefore candidates for conferring susceptibility to PC.
In this hypothesis-testing study, we evaluated PC risk in association with SNPs in 22 candidate genes involved in androgen metabolism or interactions with the androgen receptor (AR). A total of 187 SNPs were genotyped in 1,458 cases and 1,351 age-matched controls from a population-based study. PC risk was estimated using adjusted unconditional logistic regression and multinomial regression models.
Single SNP analyses showed evidence (p<0.05) for associations with 14 SNPs in 9 genes: NKX3.1, HSD17B3, AKR1C3, SULT2A1, CYP17A1, KLK3, JAK2, NCOA4 and STAT3. The most significant result was observed for rs2253502 in HSD17B3 (odds ratio, OR=0.57, 95% CI: 0.39–0.84). In addition, five SNPs in four genes (CYP17A1, HSD17B4, NCOA4, and SULT2A1) were associated with more aggressive disease (p<0.01).
Our results replicate previously reported associations for SNPs in CYP17A1, HSD17B3, ARK1C3, NKX3.1, NCOA4 and KLK3. In addition, novel associations were observed for SNPs in JAK2, HSD17B4, and SULT2A1. These results will require replication in larger studies.
Androgen pathway; JAK2; HSD17B3; prostate cancer; polymorphisms; genetic susceptibility
Medicine is rapidly applying exome and genome sequencing to the diagnosis and management of human disease. Somatic mosaicism, however, is not readily detectable by these means, and yet it accounts for a significant portion of undiagnosed disease. We present a rapid and sensitive method, the Continuous Distribution Function as applied to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array data, to quantify somatic mosaicism throughout the genome. We also demonstrate application of the method to novel diseases and mechanisms.
The domestic dog is a robust model for studying the genetics of complex disease susceptibility. The strategies used to develop and propagate modern breeds have resulted in an elevated risk for specific diseases in particular breeds. One example is that of Standard Poodles (STPOs), who have increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCCD), a locally aggressive cancer that causes lytic bone lesions, sometimes with multiple toe recurrence. However, only STPOs of dark coat color are at high risk; light colored STPOs are almost entirely unaffected, suggesting that interactions between multiple pathways are necessary for oncogenesis. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on STPOs, comparing 31 SCCD cases to 34 unrelated black STPO controls. The peak SNP on canine chromosome 15 was statistically significant at the genome-wide level (Praw = 1.60×10−7; Pgenome = 0.0066). Additional mapping resolved the region to the KIT Ligand (KITLG) locus. Comparison of STPO cases to other at-risk breeds narrowed the locus to a 144.9-Kb region. Haplotype mapping among 84 STPO cases identified a minimal region of 28.3 Kb. A copy number variant (CNV) containing predicted enhancer elements was found to be strongly associated with SCCD in STPOs (P = 1.72×10−8). Light colored STPOs carry the CNV risk alleles at the same frequency as black STPOs, but are not susceptible to SCCD. A GWAS comparing 24 black and 24 light colored STPOs highlighted only the MC1R locus as significantly different between the two datasets, suggesting that a compensatory mutation within the MC1R locus likely protects light colored STPOs from disease. Our findings highlight a role for KITLG in SCCD susceptibility, as well as demonstrate that interactions between the KITLG and MC1R loci are potentially required for SCCD oncogenesis. These findings highlight how studies of breed-limited diseases are useful for disentangling multigene disorders.
Domesticated dogs offer a unique mechanism for disentangling complex genetic traits, such as cancer. Over 300 breeds exist worldwide, each selected for particular morphologic and behavioral traits. Unfortunately the breeding programs used to generate such diversity are associated with breed-specific increase in disease. Squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCCD) is a locally aggressive cancer that causes lytic bone lesions and, occasionally, death. Among the breeds with the highest risk is the Standard Poodle (STPO), where the disease is found only in dark-coated dogs. We show that the KITLG locus is highly associated with SCCD and that a 5.7-Kb copy number variant is likely causative for the disease when in an expanded form. Interestingly, light-colored STPO carry the putative causal variant at the same frequency as black STPOs, but are protected from SCCD. We show this is likely due to a compensatory mutation in the well-known coat color locus, MC1R. This work demonstrates the utility of dog breeds for understanding the genetic causes of complex diseases of interest to both human and animal health.
In spite of intensive efforts, understanding of the genetic aspects of familial prostate cancer remains largely incomplete. In a previous microsatellite-based linkage scan of 1233 prostate cancer (PC) families, we identified suggestive evidence for linkage (i.e. LOD≥1.86) at 5q12, 15q11, 17q21, 22q12, and two loci on 8p, with additional regions implicated in subsets of families defined by age at diagnosis, disease aggressiveness, or number of affected members.
In an attempt to replicate these findings and increase linkage resolution, we used the Illumina 6000 SNP linkage panel to perform a genome-wide linkage scan of an independent set of 762 multiplex PC families, collected by 11 ICPCG groups.
Of the regions identified previously, modest evidence of replication was observed only on the short arm of chromosome 8, where HLOD scores of 1.63 and 3.60 were observed in the complete set of families and families with young average age at diagnosis, respectively. The most significant linkage signals found in the complete set of families were observed across a broad, 37 cM interval on 4q13-25, with LOD scores ranging from 2.02 to 2.62, increasing to 4.50 in families with older average age at diagnosis. In families with multiple cases presenting with more aggressive disease, LOD scores over 3.0 were observed at 8q24 in the vicinity of previously identified common PC risk variants, as well as MYC, an important gene in PC biology.
These results will be useful in prioritizing future susceptibility gene discovery efforts in this common cancer.
Prostate cancer (CaP) is the leading cancer among men of African descent in the USA, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The estimated number of CaP deaths in SSA during 2008 was more than five times that among African Americans and is expected to double in Africa by 2030. We summarize publicly available CaP data and collected data from the men of African descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCaP) Consortium and the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) to evaluate CaP incidence and mortality in men of African descent worldwide. CaP incidence and mortality are highest in men of African descent in the USA and the Caribbean. Tumor stage and grade were highest in SSA. We report a higher proportion of T1 stage prostate tumors in countries with greater percent gross domestic product spent on health care and physicians per 100,000 persons. We also observed that regions with a higher proportion of advanced tumors reported lower mortality rates. This finding suggests that CaP is underdiagnosed and/or underreported in SSA men. Nonetheless, CaP incidence and mortality represent a significant public health problem in men of African descent around the world.
Recent advances in canine genomics are changing the landscape of veterinary biology, and by default, veterinary medicine. No longer are clinicians locked into traditional methods of diagnoses and therapy. Rather major advances in canine genetics and genomics from the past five years are now changing the way the veterinarian of the 21st century practices medicine.
First, the availability of a dense genome map gives canine genetics a much needed foothold in comparative medicine, allowing advances made in human and mouse genetics to be applied to companion animals. Second, the recently released 7.5x whole genome sequence of the dog is facilitating the identification of hereditary disease genes. Finally, development of genetic tools for rapid screening of families and populations at risk for inherited disease means that the cost of identifying and testing for disease loci will significantly decrease in coming years.
Out of these advances will come major changes in companion animal diagnostics and therapy. Clinicians will be able to offer their clients genetic testing and counseling for a myriad of disorders. Such advances are certain to generate healthier and more long lived dogs, improving quality of life for owner and pet alike. The clinician of the 21st century, therefore, faces incredible opportunities as well as challenges in the management of genetic disease. In this review we summarize recent findings in canine genomics and discuss their application to the study of canine cardiac health.
inherited disease; genome; canine; cardiac; heart
Advantages offered by canine population substructure, combined with clinical presentations similar to human disorders, makes the dog an attractive system for studies of cancer genetics. Cancers that have been difficult to study in human families or populations are of particular interest. Histiocytic sarcoma is a rare and poorly understood neoplasm in humans that occurs in 15–25% of Bernese Mountain Dogs (BMD).
Genomic DNA was collected from affected and unaffected BMD in North America (NA) and Europe. Both independent and combined genome wide association studies (GWAS) were used to identify cancer-associated loci. Fine mapping and sequencing narrowed the primary locus to a single gene region.
Both populations shared the same primary locus, which features a single haplotype spanning MTAP and part of CDKN2A and is present in 96% of affected BMD. The haplotype is within the region homologous to human chromosome 9p21, which has been implicated in several types of cancer.
We present the first GWAS for HS in any species. The data identify an associated haplotype in the highly cited tumor suppressor locus near CDKN2A. These data demonstrate the power of studying distinctive malignancies in highly predisposed dog breeds.
Here, we establish a naturally-occurring model of cancer susceptibility due to CDKN2 dysregulation, thus providing insight regarding this cancer-associated, complex, and poorly understood genomic region.
Genome Wide Association Study; Dogs; p16; Cancer; Histiocytic sarcoma
Inherited predisposition may be associated with distinctive breast cancer phenotypes and/or mortality. Past studies have had inconsistent results and little is known about the contributions of screening and treatment.
Within a population-based cohort of 1260 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer before age 46, we assessed how family history of breast cancer relates to mortality and tumor characteristics. Analyses were repeated excluding BRCA1/BRCA2 carriers. Medical records were reviewed for treatment history and tumors were centrally reviewed and tested. Cox proportional hazard modeling was used to assess the risk of dying in relation to family history; logistic regression was used to assess the association of family history to tumor characteristics.
Compared to women with no family history, women with first-degree family history of breast cancer had a 40% reduction (95% CI 0.5–0.8) in the risk of dying. Mortality in women with only a second-degree family history was similar to those with no family history. The risk of dying was further reduced in those with a greater number of affected relatives. These relationships did not appear to be attributable to differences in screening, detection method, or treatment. Tumors in women with a first-degree family history had generally more favorable prognostic profiles.
Our findings suggest that breast cancer patients with a first-degree family history, compared to their counterparts without such a profile, may have a better prognosis.
These findings support the need for future research directed at replicating these results and identifying factors underlying this possible relationship.
breast cancer; family history; BRCA1; BRCA2; tumor markers; survival
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.
We determined the efficacy, biological activity, pharmacokinetics and safety of the hypomethylating agent 5-azacitidine (Celgene Corp., Summit, New Jersey) in dogs with naturally occurring invasive urothelial carcinoma.
Materials and Methods
We performed a preclinical phase I trial in dogs with naturally occurring invasive urothelial carcinoma to examine once daily subcutaneous administration of 5-azacitidine in 28-day cycles at doses of 0.10 to 0.30 mg/kg per day according to 2 dose schedules, including days 1 to 5 (28-day cohort) or days 1 to 5 and 15 to 19 (14-day cohort). Clinical efficacy was assessed by serial cystosonography, radiography and cystoscopy. Urinary 5-azacitidine pharmacokinetic analysis was also done. Pretreatment and posttreatment peripheral blood mononuclear cell and invasive urothelial carcinoma DNA, respectively, was analyzed for global and gene specific [CDKN2A (p14ARF)] methylation changes.
Enrolled in the study were 19 dogs with naturally occurring invasive urothelial carcinoma. In the 28-day cohort the maximum tolerated dose was 0.20 mg/kg per day with higher doses resulting in grade 3 or 4 neutropenia in 4 of 6 dogs. In the 14-day cohort the maximum tolerated dose was 0.10 mg/kg per day with grade 3 or 4 neutropenia seen in 2 of 3 dogs treated at higher doses. No grade 3 or 4 nonhematological toxicity was observed during either dosing schedule. Of 18 dogs evaluable for tumor response partial remission, stable disease and progressive disease were observed in 4 (22.2%), 9 (50.0%) and 4 (22.2%), respectively. Consistent 5-azacitidine levels (205 to 857 ng/ml) were detected in urine. Pretreatment and posttreatment methylation analysis revealed no significant correlation with clinical response.
Subcutaneous 5-azacitidine showed promising clinical activity in a canine invasive urothelial carcinoma model, thus meriting further development in humans with urothelial carcinoma.
urinary bladder; urothelium; carcinoma; azacitidine; dogs
For nearly 350 years, veterinary medicine and human medicine have been separate entities, with one geared toward the diagnosis and treatment in animals and the other toward parallel goals in the owners. However, that model no longer fits, since research on diseases of humans and companion animals has coalesced.1–4 The catalyst for this union has been the completion of the human genome sequence, coupled with draft sequence assemblies of genomes for companion animals.5,6 Here, we summarize the critical events in canine genetics and genomics that have led to this development, review major applications in canine health that will be of interest to human caregivers, and discuss expectations for the future.
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a popular working and companion breed for which over 50 hereditary diseases have been documented. Herein, SNP profiles for 197 GSDs were generated using the Affymetrix v2 canine SNP array for a genome-wide association study to identify loci associated with four diseases: pituitary dwarfism, degenerative myelopathy (DM), congenital megaesophagus (ME), and pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA). A locus on Chr 9 is strongly associated with pituitary dwarfism and is proximal to a plausible candidate gene, LHX3. Results for DM confirm a major locus encompassing SOD1, in which an associated point mutation was previously identified, but do not suggest modifier loci. Several SNPs on Chr 12 are associated with ME and a 4.7 Mb haplotype block is present in affected dogs. Analysis of additional ME cases for a SNP within the haplotype provides further support for this association. Results for PAA indicate more complex genetic underpinnings. Several regions on multiple chromosomes reach genome-wide significance. However, no major locus is apparent and only two associated haplotype blocks, on Chrs 7 and 12 are observed. These data suggest that PAA may be governed by multiple loci with small effects, or it may be a heterogeneous disorder.
Advances in genome technology have facilitated a new understanding of the historical and genetic processes crucial to rapid phenotypic evolution under domestication1,2. To understand the process of dog diversification better, we conducted an extensive genome-wide survey of more than 48,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in dogs and their wild progenitor, the grey wolf. Here we show that dog breeds share a higher proportion of multi-locus haplotypes unique to grey wolves from the Middle East, indicating that they are a dominant source of genetic diversity for dogs rather than wolves from east Asia, as suggested by mitochondrial DNA sequence data3. Furthermore, we find a surprising correspondence between genetic and phenotypic/functional breed groupings but there are exceptions that suggest phenotypic diversification depended in part on the repeated crossing of individuals with novel phenotypes. Our results show that Middle Eastern wolves were a critical source of genome diversity, although interbreeding with local wolf populations clearly occurred elsewhere in the early history of specific lineages. More recently, the evolution of modern dog breeds seems to have been an iterative process that drew on a limited genetic toolkit to create remarkable phenotypic diversity.
Prostate cancer has a strong familial component but uncovering the molecular basis for inherited susceptibility for this disease has been challenging. Recently, a rare, recurrent mutation (G84E) in HOXB13 was reported to be associated with prostate cancer risk. Confirmation and characterization of this finding is necessary to potentially translate this information to the clinic. To examine this finding in a large international sample of prostate cancer families, we genotyped this mutation and 14 other SNPs in or flanking HOXB13 in 2,443 prostate cancer families recruited by the International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ICPCG). At least one mutation carrier was found in 112 prostate cancer families (4.6 %), all of European descent. Within carrier families, the G84E mutation was more common in men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer (194 of 382, 51 %) than those without (42 of 137, 30 %), P = 9.9 × 10−8 [odds ratio 4.42 (95 % confidence interval 2.56–7.64)]. A family-based association test found G84E to be significantly over-transmitted from parents to affected offspring (P = 6.5 × 10−6). Analysis of markers flanking the G84E mutation indicates that it resides in the same haplotype in 95 % of carriers, consistent with a founder effect. Clinical characteristics of cancers in mutation carriers included features of high-risk disease. These findings demonstrate that the HOXB13 G84E mutation is present in ~5 % of prostate cancer families, predominantly of European descent, and confirm its association with prostate cancer risk. While future studies are needed to more fully define the clinical utility of this observation, this allele and others like it could form the basis for early, targeted screening of men at elevated risk for this common, clinically heterogeneous cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-012-1229-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The Alaskan sled dog offers a unique mechanism for studying the genetics of elite athletic performance. They are a group of mixed breed dogs, comprised of multiple common breeds, and a unique breed entity seen only as a part of the sled dog mix. Alaskan sled dogs are divided into 2 primary groups as determined by their racing skills. Distance dogs are capable of running over 1000 miles in 10 days, whereas sprint dogs run much shorter distances, approximately 30 miles, but in faster times, that is, 18–25 mph. Finding the genes that distinguish these 2 types of performers is likely to illuminate genetic contributors to human athletic performance. In this study, we tested for association between polymorphisms in 2 candidate genes; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and myostatin (MSTN) and enhanced speed and endurance performance in 174 Alaskan sled dogs. We observed 81 novel genetic variants within the ACE gene and 4 within the MSTN gene, including a polymorphism within the ACE gene that significantly (P value 2.38 × 10−5) distinguished the sprint versus distance populations.
Alaskan sled dogs; angiotensin-converting enzyme; myostatin; performance genetics
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men, accounting for over 30,000 deaths annually. The purpose of this study was to test whether variation in selected candidate genes in biological pathways of interest for prostate cancer progression could help distinguish patients at higher risk for fatal prostate cancer.
In this hypothesis-driven study, we genotyped 937 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 156 candidate genes in a population-based cohort of 1,309 prostate cancer patients. We identified 22 top-ranking SNPs (P ≤0.01, FDR ≤0.70) associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM). A subsequent validation study was completed in an independent population-based cohort of 2,875 prostate cancer patients.
Five SNPs were validated (P ≤0.05) as being significantly associated with PCSM, one each in the LEPR, CRY1, RNASEL, IL4, and ARVCF genes. Compared to patients with 0–2 of the at-risk genotypes those with 4–5 at-risk genotypes had a 50% (95% CI, 1.2–1.9) higher risk of PCSM and risk increased with the number of at-risk genotypes carried (Ptrend = 0.001), adjusting for clinicopathological factors known to influence prognosis.
Five genetic markers were validated to be associated with lethal prostate cancer.
This is the first population-based study to demonstrate that germline genetic variants provide prognostic information for prostate cancer-specific survival. The clinical utility of this five-SNP panel to stratify patients at higher risk for adverse outcomes should be evaluated.
Prostate cancer-specific mortality; survival; genetic variants; single nucleotide polymorphisms; hazard ratio
Prostate cancer is generally believed to have a strong inherited component, but the search for susceptibility genes has been hindered by the effects of genetic heterogeneity. The recently developed sumLINK and sumLOD statistics are powerful tools for linkage analysis in the presence of heterogeneity.
We performed a secondary analysis of 1233 prostate cancer pedigrees from the International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ICPCG) using two novel statistics, the sumLINK and sumLOD. For both statistics, dominant and recessive genetic models were considered. False discovery rate (FDR) analysis was conducted to assess the effects of multiple testing.
Our analysis identified significant linkage evidence at chromosome 22q12, confirming previous findings by the initial conventional analyses of the same ICPCG data. Twelve other regions were identified with genomewide suggestive evidence for linkage. Seven regions (1q23, 5q11, 5q35, 6p21, 8q12, 11q13, 20p11-q11) are near loci previously identified in the initial ICPCG pooled data analysis or the subset of aggressive prostate cancer (PC) pedigrees. Three other regions (1p12, 8p23, 19q13) confirm loci reported by others, and two (2p24, 6q27) are novel susceptibility loci. FDR testing indicates that over 70% of these results are likely true positive findings. Statistical recombinant mapping narrowed regions to an average of 9 cM.
Our results represent genomic regions with the greatest consistency of positive linkage evidence across a very large collection of high-risk prostate cancer pedigrees using new statistical tests that deal powerfully with heterogeneity. These regions are excellent candidates for further study to identify prostate cancer predisposition genes.
Linkage studies have implicated chromosome 1q24 as a putative locus for hereditary prostate cancer. The RNASEL gene maps to 1q24 and has been associated with prostate cancer risk in multiple family-based linkage studies. The RNASEL gene product combats viral infection by degrading viral RNA and inducing apoptosis of infected cells. Few studies have evaluated the role of RNASEL variants in unselected or sporadic prostate cancer, or have considered the potential interaction between RNASEL variants and patient characteristics associated with past viral infection.
Ten SNPs in the RNASEL gene were genotyped in 1,308 prostate cancer cases and 1,267 age-matched controls from prior population-based, case-control studies. The association between each SNP and haplotype with prostate cancer risk was calculated using logistic regression. Associations stratified by Gleason score were evaluated using polytomous regression. The likelihood ratio test was used to investigate effect modification by history of prostatitis.
Two RNASEL SNPs were associated with overall increases in prostate cancer risk (OR=1.13 for each variant allele of rs12723593; OR=1.88 for any variant allele of rs56250729). Risk estimates did not vary substantially by Gleason score, but there was effect modification for the variant allele of rs635261 by history of prostatitis (p=0.02).
This study identified three RNASEL variants that are associated with risk for prostate cancer. Further research is required to confirm these results and to better understand the potential role RNASEL variants may play in the etiology of sporadic prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer; RNASEL; Gleason grade; prostatitis
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.
Prostate cancer (PrCa) is the most frequently diagnosed male cancer in developed countries. To identify common PrCa susceptibility alleles, we conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study and previously reported the results of the first two stages, which identified 16 novel susceptibility loci for PrCa. Here we report the results of stage 3 in which we evaluated 1,536 SNPs in 4,574 cases and 4,164 controls. Ten novel association signals were followed up through genotyping in 51,311 samples in 30 studies through the international PRACTICAL consortium. In addition to previously reported loci, we identified a further seven new prostate cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 2p, 3q, 5p, 6p, 12q and Xq (P=4.0 ×10−8 to P=2.7 ×10−24). We also identified a SNP in TERT more strongly associated with PrCa than that previously reported. More than 40 PrCa susceptibility loci, explaining ~25% of the familial risk in this disease, have now been identified.
Because of dogs' unique population structure, human-like disease biology, and advantageous genomic features, the canine system has risen dramatically in popularity as a tool for discovering disease alleles that have been difficult to find by studying human families or populations. To date, disease studies in dogs have primarily employed either linkage analysis, leveraging the typically large family size, or genome-wide association, which requires only modest-sized case and control groups in dogs. Both have been successful but, like most techniques, each requires a specific combination of time and money, and there are inherent problems associated with each. Here we review the first report of mRNA-Seq in the dog, a study that provides insights into the potential value of applying high-throughput sequencing to the study of genetic diseases in dogs.
Forman and colleagues apply high-throughput sequencing to a single case of canine neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. This implementation of whole genome mRNA sequencing, the first reported in dog, is additionally unusual due to the analysis: the data was used not to examine transcript levels or annotate genes, but as a form of target capture that revealed the sequence of transcripts of genes associated with ataxia in humans. This approach entails risks. It would fail if, for example, the relevant transcripts were not sufficiently expressed for genotyping or were not associated with ataxia in humans. But here it pays off handsomely, identifying a single frameshift mutation that segregates with the disease. This work sets the stage for similar studies that take advantage of recent advances in genomics while exploiting the historical background of dog breeds to identify disease-causing mutations.
Dogs; RNAseq; Cortical degeneration; Canines; Neurodegenerative diseases; SPTBN2 gene
Genetic variants are likely to contribute to a portion of prostate cancer risk. Full elucidation of the genetic etiology of prostate cancer is difficult because of incomplete penetrance and genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity. Current evidence suggests that genetic linkage to prostate cancer has been found on several chromosomes including the X; however, identification of causative genes has been elusive.
Parametric and non-parametric linkage analyses were performed using 26 microsatellite markers in each of 11 groups of multiple-case prostate cancer families from the International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ICPCG). Meta-analyses of the resultant family-specific linkage statistics across the entire 1,323 families and in several predefined subsets were then performed.
Meta-analyses of linkage statistics resulted in a maximum parametric heterogeneity lod score (HLOD) of 1.28, and an allele-sharing lod score (LOD) of 2.0 in favor of linkage to Xq27-q28 at 138 cM. In subset analyses, families with average age at onset less than 65 years exhibited a maximum HLOD of 1.8 (at 138 cM) versus a maximum regional HLOD of only 0.32 in families with average age at onset of 65 years or older. Surprisingly, the subset of families with only 2–3 affected men and some evidence of male-to-male transmission of prostate cancer gave the strongest evidence of linkage to the region (HLOD = 3.24, 134 cM). For this subset, the HLOD was slightly increased (HLOD = 3.47 at 134 cM) when families used in the original published report of linkage to Xq27-28 were excluded.
Although there was not strong support for linkage to the Xq27-28 region in the complete set of families, the subset of families with earlier age at onset exhibited more evidence of linkage than families with later onset of disease. A subset of families with 2–3 affected individuals and with some evidence of male to male disease transmission showed stronger linkage signals. Our results suggest that the genetic basis for prostate cancer in our families is much more complex than a single susceptibility locus on the X chromosome, and that future explorations of the Xq27-28 region should focus on the subset of families identified here with the strongest evidence of linkage to this region.
Of the 200,000 U.S. men annually diagnosed with prostate cancer, approximately 20–30% will have clinically aggressive disease. While factors such as Gleason score and tumor stage are used to assess prognosis, there are no biomarkers to identify men at greater risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer. We therefore undertook a search for genetic variants associated with risk of more aggressive disease.
A genome-wide scan was conducted in 202 prostate cancer cases with a more aggressive phenotype and 100 randomly sampled, age-matched PSA-screened negative controls. Analysis of 387,384 autosomal SNPs was followed by validation testing in an independent set of 527 cases with more aggressive and 595 cases with less aggressive prostate cancer, and 1,167 age-matched controls.
A variant on 15q13, rs6497287, was confirmed to be most strongly associated with more aggressive (pdiscovery=5.20×10−5, pvalidation=0.004) than less aggressive disease (p=0.14). Another SNP on 3q26, rs3774315, was found to be associated with prostate cancer risk however the association was not stronger for more aggressive disease.
This study provides suggestive evidence for a genetic predisposition to more aggressive prostate cancer and highlights the fact that larger studies are warranted to confirm this supposition and identify further risk variants.
These findings raise the possibility that assessment of genetic variation may one day be useful to discern men at higher risk for developing clinically significant prostate cancer.
prostate cancer; aggressive prostate cancer; GWAS; genetic variants