A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs

Cell Metab. 2016 May 10;23(5):893-900. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.012. Epub 2016 May 3.


Sequencing of candidate genes for obesity in Labrador retriever dogs identified a 14 bp deletion in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) with an allele frequency of 12%. The deletion disrupts the β-MSH and β-endorphin coding sequences and is associated with body weight (per allele effect of 0.33 SD), adiposity, and greater food motivation. Among other dog breeds, the deletion was only found in the closely related flat-coat retriever (FCR), where it is similarly associated with body weight and food motivation. The mutation is significantly more common in Labrador retrievers selected to become assistance dogs than pets. In conclusion, the deletion in POMC is a significant modifier of weight and appetite in Labrador retrievers and FCRs and may influence other behavioral traits.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Appetite / genetics*
  • Base Pairing
  • Base Sequence
  • Body Weight / genetics*
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dogs
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Genotype
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / chemistry
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / genetics*
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Melanocortin / metabolism
  • beta-MSH / metabolism


  • Receptors, Melanocortin
  • beta-MSH
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin