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1.  Genome-wide association studies for multiple diseases of the German Shepherd Dog 
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.
doi:10.1007/s00335-011-9376-9
PMCID: PMC3509149  PMID: 22105877
2.  Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication 
Nature  2010;464(7290):898-902.
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.
doi:10.1038/nature08837
PMCID: PMC3494089  PMID: 20237475
3.  Family-based association analysis of 42 hereditary prostate cancer families identifies the Apolipoprotein L3 region on chromosome 22q12 as a risk locus 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(19):3852-3862.
Multiple genome-wide scans for hereditary prostate cancer (HPC) have identified susceptibility loci on nearly every chromosome. However, few results have been replicated with statistical significance. One exception is chromosome 22q, for which five independent linkage studies yielded strong evidence for a susceptibility locus in HPC families. Previously, we refined this region to a 2.53 Mb interval, using recombination mapping in 42 linked pedigrees. We now refine this locus to a 15 kb interval, spanning Apolipoprotein L3 (APOL3), using family-based association analyses of 150 total prostate cancer (PC) cases from two independent family collections with 506 unrelated population controls. Analysis of the two independent sets of PC cases highlighted single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the APOL3 locus showing the strongest associations with HPC risk, with the most robust results observed when all 150 cases were combined. Analysis of 15 tagSNPs across the 5′ end of the locus identified six SNPs with P-values ≤2 × 10−4. The two independent sets of HPC cases highlight the same 15 kb interval at the 5′ end of the APOL3 gene and provide strong evidence that SNPs within this 15 kb interval, or in strong linkage disequilibrium with it, contribute to HPC risk. Further analyses of this locus in an independent population-based, case–control study revealed an association between an SNP within the APOL3 locus and PC risk, which was not confirmed in the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility data set. This study further characterizes the 22q locus in HPC risk and suggests that the role of this region in sporadic PC warrants additional studies.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq283
PMCID: PMC2935853  PMID: 20631155
5.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000451
PMCID: PMC2919785  PMID: 20711490
6.  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.
doi:10.1126/science.1177808
PMCID: PMC2897713  PMID: 19713490
7.  An Expressed Fgf4 Retrogene Is Associated with Breed-Defining Chondrodysplasia in Domestic Dogs 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;325(5943):995-998.
Retrotransposition of processed mRNAs is a frequent source of novel sequence acquired during the evolution of genomes. The vast majority of retroposed gene copies are inactive pseudogenes that rapidly acquire mutations that disrupt the reading frame, while precious few are conserved to become new genes. Utilizing a multi-breed association analysis in the domestic dog, we demonstrate that a recently acquired fgf4 retrogene causes chondrodysplasia, a short-legged phenotype that defines several common dog breeds including the dachshund, corgi and basset hound. The discovery that a single evolutionary event underlies a breed-defining phenotype for 19 diverse dog breeds demonstrates the importance of unique mutational events in constraining and directing phenotypic diversity in the domestic dog.
doi:10.1126/science.1173275
PMCID: PMC2748762  PMID: 19608863
8.  A Single IGF1 Allele Is a Major Determinant of Small Size in Dogs 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2007;316(5821):112-115.
The domestic dog exhibits greater diversity in body size than any other terrestrial vertebrate. We used a strategy that exploits the breed structure of dogs to investigate the genetic basis of size. First, through a genome-wide scan, we identified a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) on chromosome 15 influencing size variation within a single breed. Second, we examined genetic variation in the 15-megabase interval surrounding the QTL in small and giant breeds and found marked evidence for a selective sweep spanning a single gene (IGF1), encoding insulin-like growth factor 1. A single IGF1 single-nucleotide polymorphism haplotype is common to all small breeds and nearly absent from giant breeds, suggesting that the same causal sequence variant is a major contributor to body size in all small dogs.
doi:10.1126/science.1137045
PMCID: PMC2789551  PMID: 17412960
9.  Canine Population Structure: Assessment and Impact of Intra-Breed Stratification on SNP-Based Association Studies 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(12):e1324.
Background
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.
Conclusions
These data provide new guidelines for association studies using purebred dogs that take into account population structure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001324
PMCID: PMC2129117  PMID: 18091995
10.  A Mutation in the Myostatin Gene Increases Muscle Mass and Enhances Racing Performance in Heterozygote Dogs 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(5):e79.
Double muscling is a trait previously described in several mammalian species including cattle and sheep and is caused by mutations in the myostatin (MSTN) gene (previously referred to as GDF8). Here we describe a new mutation in MSTN found in the whippet dog breed that results in a double-muscled phenotype known as the “bully” whippet. Individuals with this phenotype carry two copies of a two-base-pair deletion in the third exon of MSTN leading to a premature stop codon at amino acid 313. Individuals carrying only one copy of the mutation are, on average, more muscular than wild-type individuals (p = 7.43 × 10−6; Kruskal-Wallis Test) and are significantly faster than individuals carrying the wild-type genotype in competitive racing events (Kendall's nonparametric measure, τ = 0.3619; p ≈ 0.00028). These results highlight the utility of performance-enhancing polymorphisms, marking the first time a mutation in MSTN has been quantitatively linked to increased athletic performance.
Author Summary
An individual's genetic profile can play a role in defining their natural skills and talents. The canine species presents an excellent system in which to find such associative genes. The purebred dog has a long history of selective breeding, which has produced specific breeds of extraordinary strength, intelligence, and speed. We have discovered a mutation in the canine myostatin gene, a negative regulator of muscle mass, which affects muscle composition, and hence racing speed, in whippets. Dogs that possess a single copy of this mutation are more muscled than normal and are among the fastest dogs in competitive racing events. However, dogs with two copies of the same mutation are grossly overmuscled, superficially resembling double-muscled cattle known to possess similar mutations. This result is the first to quantitatively link a mutation in the myostatin gene to athletic performance. Further, it emphasizes what is sure to be a growing area of research for performance-enhancing polymorphisms in competitive athletics. Future implications include screening for myostatin mutations among elite athletes. However, as little is known about the health issues and potential risks associated with being a myostatin-mutation carrier, research in this arena should proceed with extreme caution.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030079
PMCID: PMC1877876  PMID: 17530926
11.  The dog and rat olfactory receptor repertoires 
Genome Biology  2005;6(10):R83.
An almost complete list of odorant receptor genes in the dog (1,094 genes) and the rat (1,493 genes) is described. A comparison of odorant receptor repertoires in rat, dog, mouse and human is also included.
Background
Dogs and rats have a highly developed capability to detect and identify odorant molecules, even at minute concentrations. Previous analyses have shown that the olfactory receptors (ORs) that specifically bind odorant molecules are encoded by the largest gene family sequenced in mammals so far.
Results
We identified five amino acid patterns characteristic of ORs in the recently sequenced boxer dog and brown Norway rat genomes. Using these patterns, we retrieved 1,094 dog genes and 1,493 rat genes from these shotgun sequences. The retrieved sequences constitute the olfactory receptor repertoires of these two animals. Subsets of 20.3% (for the dog) and 19.5% (for the rat) of these genes were annotated as pseudogenes as they had one or several mutations interrupting their open reading frames. We performed phylogenetic studies and organized these two repertoires into classes, families and subfamilies.
Conclusion
We have established a complete or almost complete list of OR genes in the dog and the rat and have compared the sequences of these genes within and between the two species. Our results provide insight into the evolutionary development of these genes and the local amplifications that have led to the specific amplification of many subfamilies. We have also compared the human and rat ORs with the human and mouse OR repertoires.
doi:10.1186/gb-2005-6-10-r83
PMCID: PMC1257466  PMID: 16207354
12.  Comparison of the canine and human olfactory receptor gene repertoires 
Genome Biology  2003;4(12):R80.
In this study, 817 novel canine olfactory receptor (OR) sequences were identified, and 640 have been characterized. Of the 661 characterized OR sequences, representing half of the canine repertoire, 18% are predicted to be pseudogenes, compared with 63% in human and 20% in mouse.
Background
Olfactory receptors (ORs), the first dedicated molecules with which odorants physically interact to arouse an olfactory sensation, constitute the largest gene family in vertebrates, including around 900 genes in human and 1,500 in the mouse. Whereas dogs, like many other mammals, have a much keener olfactory potential than humans, only 21 canine OR genes have been described to date.
Results
In this study, 817 novel canine OR sequences were identified, and 640 have been characterized. Of the 661 characterized OR sequences, representing half of the canine repertoire, 18% are predicted to be pseudogenes, compared with 63% in human and 20% in mouse. Phylogenetic analysis of 403 canine OR sequences identified 51 families, and radiation-hybrid mapping of 562 showed that they are distributed on 24 dog chromosomes, in 37 distinct regions. Most of these regions constitute clusters of 2 to 124 closely linked genes. The two largest clusters (124 and 109 OR genes) are located on canine chromosomes 18 and 21. They are orthologous to human clusters located on human chromosomes 11q11-q13 and HSA11p15, containing 174 and 115 ORs respectively.
Conclusions
This study shows a strongly conserved genomic distribution of OR genes between dog and human, suggesting that OR genes evolved from a common mammalian ancestral repertoire by successive duplications. In addition, the dog repertoire appears to have expanded relative to that of humans, leading to the emergence of specific canine OR genes.
PMCID: PMC329419  PMID: 14659017

Results 1-12 (12)