00882-A: Genetics of Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Dr. Alexander I. Agoulnik, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
February 1, 2007 - January 30, 2008
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Prevention

Abstract

Cryptorchidism, or retained testicles, is the most common birth defect in purebred dogs. An estimated frequency of this abnormality in several breeds is as high as 4-15 percent. Two major health consequences of cryptorchidism are infertility at adulthood and significantly increased risk of testicular malignancies. According to the AKC standards the cryptorchid animals are disqualified, they are not recommended for breeding and the retained testicles in affected dogs should be removed to avoid cancer development. Currently, there is no genetic diagnostic test to predict the risk of this disease in a dog or the progeny. The mutations causing retained testicles might spread within a population and eventually affect the overall reproductive health of the specific breed. As a result, the financial impact for breeders is significant. The main objective of this study is to develop the DNA tests that may predict the risk of a dog or its offspring to develop cryptorchidism. We have collected dozens of DNA samples from affected animals and normal controls from White German Shepherds, German Shepherds and other breeds. Each sample will be analyzed for 30,000 genetic markers using state-of-art DNA microarray technology in collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT/Harvard. The data will be statistically analyzed and the association of specific DNA markers with the disease will be established. At the end of the study we will identify the part of the dog genome containing the gene responsible for abnormal testis position. The information generated by this study can be used to identify animals with the mutant gene and thus will provide breeders with informative breeding recommendations.

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