Canine genomics and genetics: running with the pack

PLoS Genet. 2005 Nov;1(5):e58. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0010058.


The domestication of the dog from its wolf ancestors is perhaps the most complex genetic experiment in history, and certainly the most extensive. Beginning with the wolf, man has created dog breeds that are hunters or herders, big or small, lean or squat, and independent or loyal. Most breeds were established in the 1800s by dog fanciers, using a small number of founders that featured traits of particular interest. Popular sire effects, population bottlenecks, and strict breeding programs designed to expand populations with desirable traits led to the development of what are now closed breeding populations, with limited phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity, but which are ideal for genetic dissection of complex traits. In this review, we first discuss the advances in mapping and sequencing that accelerated the field in recent years. We then highlight findings of interest related to disease gene mapping and population structure. Finally, we summarize novel results on the genetics of morphologic variation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Dogs
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome*
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity