1613: Development of a Genetic Marker for Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Sheepdog

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $40,764
Anita M. Oberbauer, PhD; University of California, Davis
December 4, 1998 - December 3, 2000

Sponsor(s): American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc.

Breed(s): Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog
Research Program Area: Epilepsy Initiative
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Project Summary

This study provided the basis for continued, ongoing research to screen more genetic markers and additional dogs, using more informative statistical analysis program, in order to find a genetic marker linked to epilepsy in the Belgian Tervuren (BT). Once a genetic marker is found, work can begin on developing a genetic test to identify carriers of the disorder. Such a test will help breeders make breeding decisions to eliminate epilepsy in the breed. The study found that epilepsy in the BT seems to involve more than one gene, though there appears to a single major contributing gene. Researchers collected DNA samples and pedigrees from 800 BTs. They screened 138 dogs with 103 genetic markers, widely distributed across the canine genome. A statistically significant linkage between a marker and seizures was detected for four of the markers and additional markers located on the same chromosomes also tended to be associated with seizures.


Oberbauer, A. M. (2003). The Genetics of Epilepsy in the Belgian Tervuren and Sheepdog. Journal of Heredity, 94(1), 57–63. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esg010

Oberbauer, Anita M., Belanger, J. M., Grossman, D. I., Regan, K. R., & Famula, T. R. (2010). Genome-wide linkage scan for loci associated with epilepsy in Belgian Shepherd Dogs. BMC Genetics, 11, 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2156-11-35

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