01197-A: Genetic Analysis of Alopecia X in Pomeranians and Keeshonden

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Dr. Tosso Leeb, PhD, University of Bern
March 1, 2009 - February 28, 2010
Sponsor(s): BEACON for Health, Bearded Collie Club of America
Breed(s): Keeshond, Pomeranian
Research Program Area: Prevention

Project Summary

Alopecia X is an inherited disease in Pomeranians and other breeds with plush undercoat. It leads to hair-loss and sometimes also to a darkening of the underlying skin. Male dogs are much more frequently affected than female dogs, which has led to speculations that a hormonal imbalance might be involved in this disease. However, up to now the cause of alopecia X remains unknown. As the underlying problem has not yet been discovered, we employed a purely genetic approach to localize the mutation in the dog genome. Using SNP chip technology and a so-called genome-wide association study, we were able to show that the mutation causing alopecia X resides on a small segment of chromosome 15. This result is an important advance as there are only ~10 genes in this segment. This means that the other ~20'000 genes in the dog genome are not responsible for alopecia X and need not be further investigated. Unfortunately none of the genes in the associated interval on chromosome 15 has a known involvement in hair growth. Therefore, we will next need to perform a very labor-intensive investigation of all variants in this region to be able to identify the causative mutation for alopecia X.

Publication(s)

Fatima Wingeier (2009) Alopecia X in Pomeranians - A Genome Wide Association Analysis. Master Thesis. Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Bern.

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