Analysis of testosterone pathway genes in dogs (78,XY; SRY-positive) with ambiguous external genitalia revealed a homozygous animal for 2-bp deletion causing premature stop codon in HSD17B3

Anim Genet. 2019 Dec;50(6):705-711. doi: 10.1111/age.12850. Epub 2019 Sep 2.


The genetic background of disorders of sex development (DSD) in dogs with a normal male sex chromosome set (78,XY) is poorly described. In this study, we present for the first time, an analysis of six genes of the testosterone pathway, encoding enzymes (CYP17A1, HSD3B2, HSD17B3, SRD5A2) and transcription factors (NR5A1, AR). The entire coding sequence and flanking regions of the introns, 5'-UTR and 3'-UTR were analyzed in five DSD dogs (78,XY, SRY-positive) with ambiguous external genitalia and in 15 control dogs. A homozygous deletion of 2 bp in exon 2 of HSD17B3 (hydroxysteroid 17-beta dehydrogenase 3) was found in a Dachshund dog with enlarged clitoris, vulva and abdominal gonads and decreased serum testosterone level. In silico analysis revealed that this deleterious variant causes truncation of the encoded polypeptide (from 306 to 65 amino acids) and deprivation of the active site of the encoded enzyme. Genotyping of 23 control Dachshund dogs showed a normal homozygous genotype. Thus, we assumed that the 2-bp deletion is the causative variant. Moreover, 24 SNPs (four in CYP17A1, three in HSD3B2, six in HSD17B3, five in SRD5A2, one in AR and five in NR5A1), two intronic indels (one in HSD3B2 and one in SRD5A2) and two microsatellite polymorphisms in exon 1 of AR were found. Six SNPs appeared to be novel. No association with DSD phenotype was observed. Identification of the first case of DSD in domestic animals caused by a deleterious variant of a gene involved in testosterone synthesis showed that these genes are important candidates in such studies.

Keywords: HSD17B3; androgens; disorder of sex development; intersexuality; rudimentary penis.

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Animals
  • Codon, Terminator
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics
  • Disorders of Sex Development / pathology
  • Disorders of Sex Development / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genitalia / pathology
  • Male
  • Testosterone / biosynthesis*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Codon, Terminator
  • Testosterone
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF107021.1
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000010279
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000010039
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000001218
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000032023
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000023086
  • GENBANK/ENSCAFG00000016656
  • GENBANK/XP_005615844
  • GENBANK/XP_003638918
  • GENBANK/cd05356
  • GENBANK/ERZ936154