The genetics of canine skull shape variation

Genetics. 2013 Feb;193(2):317-25. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.145284.


A dog's craniofacial diversity is the result of continual human intervention in natural selection, a process that began tens of thousands of years ago. To date, we know little of the genetic underpinnings and developmental mechanisms that make dog skulls so morphologically plastic. In this Perspectives, we discuss the origins of dog skull shapes in terms of history and biology and highlight recent advances in understanding the genetics of canine skull shapes. Of particular interest are those molecular genetic changes that are associated with the development of distinct breeds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Inbred Strains
  • Breeding
  • Dogs / anatomy & histology
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Skull / anatomy & histology*