Necropsies and extensive histological evaluation for clinical and sub-clinical disease of approximately three hundred Portuguese Water dogs are available as part of an ongoing study to assess their state of health at end of life. Throughout life these dogs enjoyed a variety of lifestyles and environments. Here we carry out retrospective quantitative assessments of life-time dietary input and physical activity for each dog. To do this, collagens from skull vault bone and from dentine have been analyzed for ratios of stable isotopes to determine differences in diet that individual dogs experienced during late or early life respectively. Robustness of skull bone (weight/unit of skull size) was used as a relative indicator of the amount of physical activity experienced during a dog’s lifetime. These environmental parameters were correlated with the frequency and severity of specific disease processes determined at necropsy. Both measures were shown to exert significant low-level (r < 25%) differential effects on specific diseases. The value of retrospective analysis of environmental influences is discussed.
Portuguese Water Dog; Necropsy; Histopathology; Exercise; Nutrition; Stable Isotope; Skull; Dentine; Collagen
The discovery of non-random chromosome segregation (Figure 1) is discussed from the perspective of what was known in 1965 and 1966. The distinction between daughter, parent, or grandparent strands of DNA was developed in a bacterial system and led to the discovery that multiple copies of DNA elements of bacteria are not distributed randomly with respect to the age of the template strand. Experiments with higher eukaryotic cells demonstrated that during mitosis Mendel’s laws were violated; and the initial serendipitous choice of eukaryotic cell system led to the striking example of non-random segregation of parent and grandparent DNA template strands in primary cultures of cells derived from mouse embryos. Attempts to extrapolate these findings to established tissue culture lines demonstrated that the property could be lost. Experiments using plant root tips demonstrated that the phenomenon exists in plants and that it was, at some level, under genetic control. Despite publication in major journals and symposia (Lark et al., 1966, 1967; Lark, 1967, 1969a,b,c) the potential implications of these findings were ignored for several decades. Here we explore possible reasons for the pre-maturity (Stent, 1972) of this discovery.
non-random segregation; sister chromatid; stem cell; mouse; radioautography
Directional asymmetry (DA) is a characteristic of most vertebrates, most strikingly exhibited by the placement of various organs (heart, lungs, liver, etc.) but also noted in small differences in the metrics of skeletal structures such as the pelvis of certain fish or sauropsids. We have analyzed DA in the skeleton of the fox (V. vulpes), using ~1,000 radiographs of foxes from populations used in the genetic analysis of behavior and morphology. Careful measurements from this robust data base demonstrate that: 1) DA occurs in the limb bones, the ileum, and ischium and in the mandible; 2) regardless of the direction of the length asymmetry vector of a particular skeletal unit, the vectorial direction of length is always opposite to that of width; 3) with the exception of the humerus and radius, there is no correlation or inverse correlation between vectorial amplitudes or magnitudes of bone asymmetries. 4) Postnatal measurements on foxes demonstrate that the asymmetry increases after birth and continues to change (increasing or decreasing) during postnatal growth. 5) A behavior test for preferential use of a specific forelimb exhibited fluctuating asymmetry but not DA. None of the skeletal asymmetries were significantly correlated with a preferential use of a specific forelimb. We suggest that for the majority of fox skeletal parameters, growth on the right and left side of the fox are differentially biased resulting in fixed differences between the two sides in either the rate of growth or the length of the period during which growth occurs. Random effects around these fixed differences perturb the magnitude of the effects such that the magnitudes of length and width asymmetries are not inversely correlated at the level of individual animals.
fox; V. vulpes; skeleton; directional asymmetry; pelvis; mandible; limb bone
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
A dog model has been used to evaluate histological changes arising from senescence. Autopsies of 145 Portuguese Water Dogs have been used to evaluate the individual and group “state of health” at time of death. For each dog, weights or dimensions of organs or tissues were obtained, together with histological evaluation of tissues. Twenty-three morphological metrics correlated significantly to age at death. Many of these involved muscles; others were associated with derivatives of embryonic foregut. The latter included lengths of the small intestine and trachea as well as weights of the stomach and some lung lobes. Nearly all of the dogs examined had histological changes in multiple tissues, ranging from two to 12 per dog. Associations among pathologies included inflammatory bowel disease with osteoporosis and dental calculus/periodontitis with atherosclerosis and amyloidosis. In addition, two clusters of histological changes were correlated to aging: hyperplasia, frequency of adenomas, and hemosiderosis constituted one group; inflammation, plasmacytic and lymphocytic infiltration, fibrosis, and atrophy, another. Heritability analysis indicated that many of the changes in tissue/organ morphology or histology could be heritable and possibly associated with IGF1, but more autopsies will be required to substantiate these genetic relationships.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9181-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Age of death; Autopsy; Dog; Pathology; Histology
During the second part of the 20th century, Belyaev selected tame and aggressive foxes (Vulpes vulpes), in an effort known as the “farm-fox experiment”, to recapitulate the process of animal domestication. Using these tame and aggressive foxes as founders of segregant backcross and intercross populations we have employed interval mapping to identify a locus for tame behavior on fox chromosome VVU12. This locus is orthologous to, and therefore validates, a genomic region recently implicated in canine domestication. The tame versus aggressive behavioral phenotype was characterized as the first principal component (PC) of a PC matrix made up of many distinct behavioral traits (e.g. wags tail; comes to the front of the cage; allows head to be touched; holds observer’s hand with its mouth; etc.). Mean values of this PC for F1, backcross and intercross populations defined a linear gradient of heritable behavior ranging from tame to aggressive. The second PC did not follow such a gradient, but also mapped to VVU12, and distinguished between active and passive behaviors. These data suggest that 1) there are at least two VVU12 loci associated with behavior; 2) expression of these loci is dependent on interactions with other parts of the genome (the genome context) and therefore varies from one crossbred population to another depending on the individual parents that participated in the cross.
behavior genetics; domestication; social behavior; Vulpes vulpes; Canis familiaris
Traits that have been stringently selected to conform to specific criteria in a closed population are phenotypic stereotypes. In dogs, Canis familiaris, such stereotypes have been produced by breeding for conformation, performance (behaviors), etc. We measured phenotypes on a representative sample to establish breed stereotypes. DNA samples from 147 dog breeds were used to characterize single nucleotide polymorphism allele frequencies for association mapping of breed stereotypes. We identified significant size loci (quantitative trait loci [QTLs]), implicating candidate genes appropriate to regulation of size (e.g., IGF1, IGF2BP2
SMAD2, etc.). Analysis of other morphological stereotypes, also under extreme selection, identified many additional significant loci. Behavioral loci for herding, pointing, and boldness implicated candidate genes appropriate to behavior (e.g., MC2R, DRD1, and PCDH9). Significant loci for longevity, a breed characteristic inversely correlated with breed size, were identified. The power of this approach to identify loci regulating the incidence of specific polygenic diseases is demonstrated by the association of a specific IGF1 haplotype with hip dysplasia, patella luxation, and pacreatitis.
association; canine; disease; longevity; morphology; QTL
Purebred dogs are a valuable resource for genetic analysis of quantitative traits. Quantitative traits are complex, controlled by many genes that are contained within regions of the genome known as quantitative trait loci (QTL). The genetic architecture of quantitative traits is defined by the characteristics of these genes: their number, the magnitude of their effects, their positions in the genome and their interactions with each other. QTL analysis is a valuable tool for exploring genetic architecture, and highlighting regions of the genome that contribute to the variation of a trait within a population.
Genetic variation in functionally integrated skeletal traits can be maintained over 10 million years despite bottlenecks and stringent selection. Here, we describe an analysis of the genetic architecture of the canid axial skeleton using populations of the Portuguese Water Dog Canis familiaris) and silver fox (Vulpes vulpes). Twenty-one skeletal metrics taken from radiographs of the forelimbs and hind limbs of the fox and dog were used to construct separate anatomical principal component (PC) matrices of the two species. In both species, 15 of the 21 PCs exhibited significant heritability, ranging from 25% to 70%. The second PC, in both species, represents a trade-off in which limb-bone width is inversely correlated with limb-bone length. PC2 accounts for approximately 15% of the observed skeletal variation, ~30% of the variation in shape. Many of the other significant PCs affect very small amounts of variation (e.g., 0.2–2%) along trade-off axes that partition function between the forelimbs and hind limbs. These PCs represent shape axes in which an increase in size of an element of the forelimb is associated with a decrease in size of an element of the hind limb and vice versa. In most cases, these trade-offs are heritable in both species and genetic loci have been identified in the Portuguese Water Dog for many of these. These PCs, present in both the dog and the fox, include ones that affect lengths of the forelimb versus the hind limb, length of the forefoot versus that of the hind foot, muscle moment (i.e., lever) arms of the forelimb versus hind limb, and cortical thickness of the bones of the forelimb versus hind limb. These inverse relationships suggest that genetic regulation of the axial skeleton results, in part, from the action of genes that influence suites of functionally integrated traits. Their presence in both dogs and foxes suggests that the genes controlling the regulation of these PCs of the forelimb versus hind limb may be found in other tetrapod taxa.
Escherichia coli 15T− can initiate a cycle of deoxyribonucleic acid replication with equal efficiency in the presence of 25 or 50 μg of chloramphenicol/ml. However, these replication cycles are not completed in the presence of these drug concentrations, and the amount of replication decreases with increasing drug concentration.
Cultures of Escherichia coli 15T− and K-12 were labeled with 3H-thymine before, during, and after amino acid starvation. The number of labeled segregating units was measured by autoradiography of microcolonies derived from the labeled cells. In both strains, labels inserted before starvation and during starvation appeared to segregate as if incorporated into the same polynucleotide strands. However, labels inserted during and after starvation segregated as if incorporated into different polynucleotide strands. In view of previous data, it was concluded that replication after amino acid starvation originates from the region of the chromosome which serves as the origin for replication during normal growth and division.
The replication of the Salmonella typhimurium chromosome was studied. As with E. coli 15T−, replication was sequential. After amino acid starvation, replication proceeded from a unique and heritable region of the chromosome. 5-Bromouracil, when substituted for thymine, did not disturb the sequence of replication nor did it initiate extra replication cycles. By labeling the origin and the terminus of the chromosome with 3H- and 14C-thymine, respectively, it was possible to determine that the rate of chain elongation decreases as the growth rate decreases. No gap in the replication cycle could be observed.
Cells of the gram-positive organism Lactobacillus acidophilus R-26 were labeled with 3H-thymine to measure the segregation of radioactive deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) into daugher cells. Such cells were found to contain 8 conserved units of DNA which would correspond to two replicating chromosomes per cell. Fluorescent antibody (FA) against this organism was used to demonstrate that portions of the cell surface (2 to 4 units per cell) were conserved during growth and division. The permanent association of DNA with these conserved cell surface units was measured by combining autoradiography with FA techniques. DNA synthesized immediately before FA labeling was not associated with the fluorescent cell surface, whereas DNA synthesized a generation previously was. The results are consistent with a model in which DNA becomes permanently fixed to the cell surface when it is first used as a template.