Special Issue "Canine Genetics"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Elaine Ostrander

Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute/National Institute of Health. Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dog breeds; canine genetics; prostate cancer; domestic dog

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

The domestic dog is unique among mammals, as it divided into an extraordinary number of breeds (over 400), with each characterized by specific attributes of behavior and morphology. However, the recent timeframe for the development of most breeds and their associated breeding programs means that dogs develop most of the same diseases as humans, often with the same symptoms, pathology, and response to treatment. Since the 1990s, we as a community have worked to develop the dog as a genetic system on par with other commonly used mammalian model systems (e.g., mice). This was facilitated first by the creation of maps which permitted navigation of the dog genome, followed by whole-genome sequencing of the boxer in 2005. Since then, we have developed a plethora of tools and resources for advancing dog genomics, as evidenced by the enormous strides in mapping genes and identifying variants responsible for diseases and breed traits important to both human and animal health. Key to fully exploiting the dog system is a need to understand critical issues in dog history, such as domestication, timing, and mechanisms of individual breed formation, and to perform additional whole-genome sequencing. Equally important are the needed advances in bioinformatics that will allow us to accurately identify actionable genetic variants among the many candidates presented from association and sequencing studies. For this Special Issue, we will present state-of-the-art work in canine genetics and genomics, assembling the most recent advances in our field in one place.

Dr. Elaine Ostrander
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Canis
  • dog
  • wolf
  • genomics
  • sequencing
  • breed
  • domestication
  • mapping
  • variants
  • genetics

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Analysis of Long Non-Coding RNA Profiles in Canine Oral Melanomas
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 23 June 2019
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Abstract
Mucosal melanomas (MM) are rare aggressive cancers in humans, and one of the most common forms of oral cancers in dogs. Similar biological and histological features are shared between MM in both species, making dogs a powerful model for comparative oncology studies of [...] Read more.
Mucosal melanomas (MM) are rare aggressive cancers in humans, and one of the most common forms of oral cancers in dogs. Similar biological and histological features are shared between MM in both species, making dogs a powerful model for comparative oncology studies of melanomas. Although exome sequencing recently identified recurrent coding mutations in canine MM, little is known about changes in non-coding gene expression, and more particularly, in canine long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), which are commonly dysregulated in human cancers. Here, we sampled a large cohort (n = 52) of canine normal/tumor oral MM from three predisposed breeds (poodles, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers), and used deep transcriptome sequencing to identify more than 400 differentially expressed (DE) lncRNAs. We further prioritized candidate lncRNAs by comparative genomic analysis to pinpoint 26 dog–human conserved DE lncRNAs, including SOX21-AS, ZEB2-AS, and CASC15 lncRNAs. Using unsupervised co-expression network analysis with coding genes, we inferred the potential functions of the DE lncRNAs, suggesting associations with cancer-related genes, cell cycle, and carbohydrate metabolism Gene Ontology (GO) terms. Finally, we exploited our multi-breed design to identify DE lncRNAs within breeds. This study provides a unique transcriptomic resource for studying oral melanoma in dogs, and highlights lncRNAs that may potentially be diagnostic or therapeutic targets for human and veterinary medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
A SIX6 Nonsense Variant in Golden Retrievers with Congenital Eye Malformations
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract
Causative genetic variants for more than 30 heritable eye disorders in dogs have been reported. For other clinically described eye disorders, the genetic cause is still unclear. We investigated four Golden Retriever litters segregating for highly variable congenital eye malformations. Several affected puppies [...] Read more.
Causative genetic variants for more than 30 heritable eye disorders in dogs have been reported. For other clinically described eye disorders, the genetic cause is still unclear. We investigated four Golden Retriever litters segregating for highly variable congenital eye malformations. Several affected puppies had unilateral or bilateral retina dysplasia and/or optic nerve hypoplasia. The four litters shared the same father or grandfather suggesting a heritable condition with an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. The genome of one affected dog was sequenced and compared to 601 control genomes. A heterozygous private nonsense variant, c.487C>T, was found in the SIX6 gene. This variant is predicted to truncate about a third of the open reading frame, p.(Gln163*). We genotyped all available family members and 464 unrelated Golden Retrievers. All three available cases were heterozygous. Five additional close relatives including the common sire were also heterozygous, but did not show any obvious eye phenotypes. The variant was absent from the 464 unrelated Golden Retrievers and 17 non-affected siblings of the cases. The SIX6 protein is a homeobox transcription factor with a known role in eye development. In humans and other species, SIX6 loss of function variants were reported to cause congenital eye malformations. This strongly suggests that the c.487C>T variant detected contributed to the observed eye malformations. We hypothesize that the residual amount of functional SIX6 protein likely to be expressed in heterozygous dogs is sufficient to explain the observed incomplete penetrance and the varying severity of the eye defects in the affected dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Homozygosity for Mobile Element Insertions Associated with WBSCR17 Could Predict Success in Assistance Dog Training Programs
Received: 28 April 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 9 June 2019
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Abstract
Assistance dog training programs can see as many as 60% of their trainees dismissed. Many training programs utilize behavioral assays prior to admittance to identify likely successful candidates, yet such assays can be insconsistent. Recently, four canine retrotransposon mobile element insertions (MEIs) in [...] Read more.
Assistance dog training programs can see as many as 60% of their trainees dismissed. Many training programs utilize behavioral assays prior to admittance to identify likely successful candidates, yet such assays can be insconsistent. Recently, four canine retrotransposon mobile element insertions (MEIs) in or near genes WBSCR17 (Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7), GTF2I (Cfa6.66) and POM121 (Cfa6.83) were identified in domestic dogs and gray wolves. Variations in these MEIs were significantly associated with a heightened propensity to initiate prolonged social contact or hypersociability. Using our dataset of 837 dogs, 228 of which had paired survey-based behavioral data, we discovered that one of the insertions in WBSCR17 is the most important predictor of dog sociable behaviors related to human proximity, measured by the Canine Behavioral Assessment Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ©). We found a positive correlation between insertions at Cfa6.6 and dog separation distress in the form of restlessness when about to be left alone by the owner. Lastly, assistance dogs showed significant heterozygosity deficiency at locus Cfa6.6 and higher frequency of insertions at Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7. We suggest that training programs could utilize this genetic survey to screen for MEIs at WBSCR17 to identify dogs with sociable traits compatible with successful assistance dog performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Phenotypic Effects of FGF4 Retrogenes on Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
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Abstract
Two FGF4 retrogenes on chromosomes 12 (12-FGF4RG) and 18 (18-FGF4RG) contribute to short-limbed phenotypes in dogs. 12-FGF4RG has also been associated with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Both of these retrogenes were found to be widespread among dog [...] Read more.
Two FGF4 retrogenes on chromosomes 12 (12-FGF4RG) and 18 (18-FGF4RG) contribute to short-limbed phenotypes in dogs. 12-FGF4RG has also been associated with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Both of these retrogenes were found to be widespread among dog breeds with allele frequencies ranging from 0.02 to 1; however, their additive contribution to disease is unknown. Surgical cases of IVDD (n = 569) were evaluated for age of onset, disc calcification, and genotypes for the FGF4 retrogenes. Multivariable linear regression analysis identified the presence of one or two copies of 12-FGF4RG associated with significantly younger age at first surgery in a dominant manner. 18-FGF4RG had only a minor effect in dogs with one copy. Multivariable logistic regression showed that 12-FGF4RG had an additive effect on radiographic disc calcification, while 18-FGF4RG had no effect. Multivariable logistic regression using mixed breed cases and controls identified only 12-FGF4RG as highly associated with disc herniation in a dominant manner (Odds Ratio, OR, 18.42, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 7.44 to 50.26; P < 0.001). The relative risk for disc surgery associated with 12-FGF4RG varied from 5.5 to 15.1 within segregating breeds and mixed breeds. The FGF4 retrogene on CFA12 acts in a dominant manner to decrease the age of onset and increase the overall risk of disc disease in dogs. Other modifiers of risk may be present within certain breeds, including the FGF4 retrogene on CFA18. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
BarkBase: Epigenomic Annotation of Canine Genomes
Received: 4 May 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
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Abstract
Dogs are an unparalleled natural model for investigating the genetics of health and disease, particularly for complex diseases like cancer. Comprehensive genomic annotation of regulatory elements active in healthy canine tissues is crucial both for identifying candidate causal variants and for designing functional [...] Read more.
Dogs are an unparalleled natural model for investigating the genetics of health and disease, particularly for complex diseases like cancer. Comprehensive genomic annotation of regulatory elements active in healthy canine tissues is crucial both for identifying candidate causal variants and for designing functional studies needed to translate genetic associations into disease insight. Currently, canine geneticists rely primarily on annotations of the human or mouse genome that have been remapped to dog, an approach that misses dog-specific features. Here, we describe BarkBase, a canine epigenomic resource available at barkbase.org. BarkBase hosts data for 27 adult tissue types, with biological replicates, and for one sample of up to five tissues sampled at each of four carefully staged embryonic time points. RNA sequencing is complemented with whole genome sequencing and with assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq), which identifies open chromatin regions. By including replicates, we can more confidently discern tissue-specific transcripts and assess differential gene expression between tissues and timepoints. By offering data in easy-to-use file formats, through a visual browser modeled on similar genomic resources for human, BarkBase introduces a powerful new resource to support comparative studies in dogs and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
The Red Fox Y-Chromosome in Comparative Context
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
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Abstract
While the number of mammalian genome assemblies has proliferated, Y-chromosome assemblies have lagged behind. This discrepancy is caused by biological features of the Y-chromosome, such as its high repeat content, that present challenges to assembly with short-read, next-generation sequencing technologies. Partial Y-chromosome assemblies [...] Read more.
While the number of mammalian genome assemblies has proliferated, Y-chromosome assemblies have lagged behind. This discrepancy is caused by biological features of the Y-chromosome, such as its high repeat content, that present challenges to assembly with short-read, next-generation sequencing technologies. Partial Y-chromosome assemblies have been developed for the cat (Felis catus), dog (Canis lupus familiaris), and grey wolf (Canis lupus lupus), providing the opportunity to examine the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) Y-chromosome in the context of closely related species. Here we present a data-driven approach to identifying Y-chromosome sequence among the scaffolds that comprise the short-read assembled red fox genome. First, scaffolds containing genes found on the Y-chromosomes of cats, dogs, and wolves were identified. Next, analysis of the resequenced genomes of 15 male and 15 female foxes revealed scaffolds containing male-specific k-mers and patterns of inter-sex copy number variation consistent with the heterogametic chromosome. Analyzing variation across these two metrics revealed 171 scaffolds containing 3.37 Mbp of putative Y-chromosome sequence. The gene content of these scaffolds is consistent overall with that of the Y-chromosome in other carnivore species, though the red fox Y-chromosome carries more copies of BCORY2 and UBE1Y than has been reported in related species and fewer copies of SRY than in other canids. The assignment of these scaffolds to the Y-chromosome serves to further characterize the content of the red fox draft genome while providing resources for future analyses of canid Y-chromosome evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of a Missense Variant in MFSD12 Involved in Dilution of Phaeomelanin Leading to White or Cream Coat Color in Dogs
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
White coat color in mammals has been selected several times during the domestication process. Numerous dog breeds are fixed for one form of white coat color that involves darkly pigmented skin. The genetic basis of this color, due to the absence of pigment [...] Read more.
White coat color in mammals has been selected several times during the domestication process. Numerous dog breeds are fixed for one form of white coat color that involves darkly pigmented skin. The genetic basis of this color, due to the absence of pigment in the hairs, was suggested to correspond to extreme dilution of the phaeomelanin, by both the expression of only phaeomelanin (locus E) and its extreme dilution (locus I). To go further, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using a multiple breed approach. The first GWAS, using 34 white dogs and 128 non-white dogs, including White Shepherds, Poodles, Cotons de Tulear and Bichons allowed us to identify two significantly associated loci on the locus E and a novel locus on chromosome 20. A second GWAS using 15 other breeds presenting extreme phaeomelanin dilution confirmed the position of locus I on the chromosome 20 (position 55 Mb pcorrected = 6 × 10−13). Using whole-genome sequencing, we identified a missense variant in the first exon of MFSD12, a gene recently identified to be involved in human, mouse and horse pigmentation. We confirmed the role of this variant in phaeomelanin dilution of numerous canine breeds, and the conserved role of MFSD12 in mammalian pigmentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Whole Genome Sequencing of Giant Schnauzer Dogs with Progressive Retinal Atrophy Establishes NECAP1 as a Novel Candidate Gene for Retinal Degeneration
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
Canine progressive retinal atrophies (PRA) are genetically heterogeneous diseases characterized by retinal degeneration and subsequent blindness. PRAs are untreatable and affect multiple dog breeds, significantly impacting welfare. Three out of seven Giant Schnauzer (GS) littermates presented with PRA around four years of age. [...] Read more.
Canine progressive retinal atrophies (PRA) are genetically heterogeneous diseases characterized by retinal degeneration and subsequent blindness. PRAs are untreatable and affect multiple dog breeds, significantly impacting welfare. Three out of seven Giant Schnauzer (GS) littermates presented with PRA around four years of age. We sought to identify the causal variant to improve our understanding of the aetiology of this form of PRA and to enable development of a DNA test. Whole genome sequencing of two PRA-affected full-siblings and both unaffected parents was performed. Variants were filtered based on those segregating appropriately for an autosomal recessive disorder and predicted to be deleterious. Successive filtering against 568 canine genomes identified a single nucleotide variant in the gene encoding NECAP endocytosis associated 1 (NECAP1): c.544G>A (p.Gly182Arg). Five thousand one hundred and thirty canids of 175 breeds, 10 cross-breeds and 3 wolves were genotyped for c.544G>A. Only the three PRA-affected GS were homozygous (allele frequency in GS, excluding proband family = 0.015). In addition, we identified heterozygotes belonging to Spitz and Dachshund varieties, demonstrating c.544G>A segregates in other breeds of German origin. This study, in parallel with the known retinal expression and role of NECAP1 in clathrin mediated endocytosis (CME) in synapses, presents NECAP1 as a novel candidate gene for retinal degeneration in dogs and other species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
A Missense Variant in SCN8A in Alpine Dachsbracke Dogs Affected by Spinocerebellar Ataxia
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
Spinocerebellar ataxias is an umbrella term for clinically- and neuropathologically-heterogeneous early-onset hereditary neurodegenerative diseases affecting several dog breeds. The purpose of this study is to identify the causative genetic variant associated with ataxia, tremor, and loss of balance in Alpine Dachsbracke dogs. We [...] Read more.
Spinocerebellar ataxias is an umbrella term for clinically- and neuropathologically-heterogeneous early-onset hereditary neurodegenerative diseases affecting several dog breeds. The purpose of this study is to identify the causative genetic variant associated with ataxia, tremor, and loss of balance in Alpine Dachsbracke dogs. We investigated two related litters in which four cases were reported. Neuropathology of two dogs revealed spongy degeneration associated with axonal degeneration. Combined genetic linkage and autozygosity analyses in four cases and eight related controls showed one critical disease-associated interval on chromosomes 27. Private whole-genome sequence variants of one ataxia case against 600 unrelated controls revealed one protein-changing variant within the critical interval in the SCN8A gene (c.4898G>T; p.Gly1633Val). Perfect segregation with the phenotype was confirmed by genotyping >200 Alpine Dachsbracke dogs. SCN8A encodes a voltage-gated sodium channel and the missense variant was predicted deleterious by three different in silico prediction tools. Pathogenic variants in SCN8A were previously reported in humans with ataxia, pancerebellar atrophy, and cognitive disability. Furthermore, cerebellar ataxia syndrome in the ‘jolting’ mutant mice is caused by a missense variant in Scn8a. Therefore, we considered the SCN8A:c.4898G>T variant to be the most likely cause for recessively inherited spinocerebellar ataxia in Alpine Dachsbracke dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Characterization of External Morphology Traits in Kelpies Does Not Support Common Ancestry with the Australian Dingo
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 3 May 2019
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Abstract
The Kelpie is a breed developed in Australia for use as a livestock herding dog. It has been proposed that the development of the breed included gene flow from the Australian Dingo (Canis dingo), a canid species present on the Australian [...] Read more.
The Kelpie is a breed developed in Australia for use as a livestock herding dog. It has been proposed that the development of the breed included gene flow from the Australian Dingo (Canis dingo), a canid species present on the Australian continent for around 4000 years. The Kelpie breed is split between working and conformation types that have readily recognizable differences in external morphology. We characterize known gene variants relating to external morphology in sequenced representatives of both Kelpie types (Australian Kelpie—conformation; Australian Working Kelpie—herding) and compare the variants present with those in sequenced Australian Dingoes, including 25 canids with locus-constrained data and one with a whole genome sequence. Variants assessed include identified coat color and ear morphology variants. We describe a new variant site in the transcribed region of methionine sulfoxide reductase 3 that may relate to ear phenotype. None of the morphology variants analyzed offer support for co-ancestry of the Kelpie breed with the Australian Dingo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Hair of the Dog: Identification of a Cis-Regulatory Module Predicted to Influence Canine Coat Composition
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract
Each domestic dog breed is characterized by a strict set of physical and behavioral characteristics by which breed members are judged and rewarded in conformation shows. One defining feature of particular interest is the coat, which is comprised of either a double- or [...] Read more.
Each domestic dog breed is characterized by a strict set of physical and behavioral characteristics by which breed members are judged and rewarded in conformation shows. One defining feature of particular interest is the coat, which is comprised of either a double- or single-layer of hair. The top coat contains coarse guard hairs and a softer undercoat, similar to that observed in wolves and assumed to be the ancestral state. The undercoat is absent in single-coated breeds which is assumed to be the derived state. We leveraged single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and whole genome sequence (WGS) data to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS), identifying a locus on chromosome (CFA) 28 which is strongly associated with coat number. Using WGS data, we identified a locus of 18.4 kilobases containing 62 significant variants within the intron of a long noncoding ribonucleic acid (lncRNA) upstream of ADRB1. Multiple lines of evidence highlight the locus as a potential cis-regulatory module. Specifically, two variants are found at high frequency in single-coated dogs and are rare in wolves, and both are predicted to affect transcription factor (TF) binding. This report is among the first to exploit WGS data for both GWAS and variant mapping to identify a breed-defining trait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Y Chromosome Retrocopies in Canids Revealed through a Genome-Wide Association Study for Sex
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
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Abstract
The lack of an annotated reference sequence for the canine Y chromosome has limited evolutionary studies, as well as our understanding of the role of Y-linked sequences in phenotypes with a sex bias. In genome-wide association studies (GWASs), we observed spurious associations with [...] Read more.
The lack of an annotated reference sequence for the canine Y chromosome has limited evolutionary studies, as well as our understanding of the role of Y-linked sequences in phenotypes with a sex bias. In genome-wide association studies (GWASs), we observed spurious associations with autosomal SNPs when sex was unbalanced in case-control cohorts and hypothesized that a subset of SNPs mapped to autosomes are in fact sex-linked. Using the Illumina 230K CanineHD array in a GWAS for sex, we identified SNPs that amplify in both sexes but possess significant allele frequency differences between males and females. We found 48 SNPs mapping to 14 regions of eight autosomes and the X chromosome that are Y-linked, appearing heterozygous in males and monomorphic in females. Within these 14 regions are eight genes: three autosomal and five X-linked. We investigated the autosomal genes (MITF, PPP2CB, and WNK1) and determined that the SNPs are diverged nucleotides in retrocopies that have transposed to the Y chromosome. MITFY and WNK1Y are expressed and appeared recently in the Canidae lineage, whereas PPP2CBY represents a much older insertion with no evidence of expression in the dog. This work reveals novel canid Y chromosome sequences and provides evidence for gene transposition to the Y from autosomes and the X. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
A QIL1 Variant Associated with Ventricular Arrhythmias and Sudden Cardiac Death in the Juvenile Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
The QIl1 gene produces a component of the Mitochondrial Contact Site and Cristae Organizing System that forms and stabilizes mitochondrial cristae junctions and is important in cellular energy production. We previously reported a family of Rhodesian Ridgebacks with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac [...] Read more.
The QIl1 gene produces a component of the Mitochondrial Contact Site and Cristae Organizing System that forms and stabilizes mitochondrial cristae junctions and is important in cellular energy production. We previously reported a family of Rhodesian Ridgebacks with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Here, we performed whole genome sequencing on a trio from the family. Variant calling was performed using a standardized bioinformatics approach. Variants were filtered against variants from 247 dogs of 43 different breeds. High impact variants were validated against additional affected and unaffected dogs. A single missense G/A variant in the QIL1 gene was associated with the cardiac arrhythmia (p < 0.0001). The variant was predicted to change the amino acid from conserved Glycine to Serine and to be deleterious. Ultrastructural analysis of the biceps femoris muscle from an affected dog revealed hyperplastic mitochondria, cristae rearrangement, electron dense inclusions and lipid bodies. We identified a variant in the Q1l1 gene resulting in a mitochondrial cardiomyopathy characterized by cristae abnormalities and cardiac arrhythmias in a canine model. This natural animal model of mitochondrial cardiomyopathy provides a large animal model with which to study the development and progression of disease as well as genotypic phenotypic relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics)
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