00459-A: Exploring the Genetic Loss of a Hallmark Trait - Ridgelessness in the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Dr. Mark W. Neff, PhD, University of California, Davis
April 1, 2005 - March 31, 2006
Sponsor(s): Westie Foundation of America, Inc.
Breed(s): Rhodesian Ridgeback
Research Program Area: Prevention

Abstract

A primary concern among breeders of pedigreed dogs is the stable inheritance of traits that allow each new generation of puppies to conform to the breed standard and fully benefit from the privileges of a certified registry. The inconsistent inheritance of a hallmark trait (i.e., one that distinguishes a breed from all others) can be a serious setback for fanciers. Within the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, an estimated 5-10 percent of puppies born to registered sires and dams lack the ridge. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the US (RRCUS) health survey, taken initially in 1996 and updated in 2001, indicates that ridgelessness is the single largest cause of death in the breed (many breeders still euthanized ridgeless puppies). With the support of the Rhodesian Ridgeback community, we plan to map the genetic basis of ridgelessness. Ultimately, our research will identify the gene responsible, and enable breeders to eliminate ridgelessness from their lines through affordable DNA-based selective breeding.

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