The canine genome

Genome Res. 2005 Dec;15(12):1706-16. doi: 10.1101/gr.3736605.


The dog has emerged as a premier species for the study of morphology, behavior, and disease. The recent availability of a high-quality draft sequence lifts the dog system to a new threshold. We provide a primer to use the dog genome by first focusing on its evolutionary history. We overview the relationship of dogs to wild canids and discuss their origin and domestication. Dogs clearly originated from a substantial number of gray wolves and dog breeds define distinct genetic units that can be divided into at least four hierarchical groupings. We review evidence showing that dogs have high levels of linkage disequilibrium. Consequently, given that dog breeds express specific phenotypic traits and vary in behavior and the incidence of genetic disease, genomic-wide scans for linkage disequilibrium may allow the discovery of genes influencing breed-specific characteristics. Finally, we review studies that have utilized the dog to understand the genetic underpinning of several traits, and we summarize genomic resources that can be used to advance such studies. We suggest that given these resources and the unique characteristics of breeds, that the dog is a uniquely valuable resource for studying the genetic basis of complex traits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding / methods
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genetics, Behavioral
  • Genome*
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA