Journal Article

So many doggone traits: mapping genetics of multiple phenotypes in the domestic dog

Maud Rimbault and Elaine A. Ostrander

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 21, issue R1, pages R52-R57
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online August 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
So many doggone traits: mapping genetics of multiple phenotypes in the domestic dog

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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.

Journal Article.  3429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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