00850-A: Genetic Analysis of Noise Phobia in Border Collies

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Steven P. Hamilton, MD PhD; University of California, San Francisco
August 1, 2007 - July 31, 2008

Sponsor(s): Akita Club of America, Inc., Clumber Spaniel Club of America, French Bulldog Club of America, Siberian Husky Health Foundation, Standard Schnauzer Club of America

Breed(s): Border Collie
Research Program Area: Behavior
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The genetic bases of canine behavior have long fascinated owners, trainers, and breeders. Recent advances in dog genomics, including the publication of the dog genome, mean that the most important tools are in place for rigorous genetic analyses of canine behavioral traits. These traits include pathological behavioral problems as well as normal, breed-specific behaviors such as herding, hunting, or guarding. A number of naturally occurring anxiety syndromes similar to those found in humans, such as separation anxiety or phobias, are also found in dogs. Many of these canine anxiety disorders run in certain breeds, bloodlines, or families. We have identified an extended Border Collie family affected by excessive fear of noises (such as thunder, fireworks, or gunshots). Noise phobia is seen across breeds, but appears to be found in particular frequency in Border Collies and perhaps other related Herding Group breeds. Additionally, we are collecting, and have already collected, hundreds of samples from unrelated dogs ("cases and controls") for noise phobia. Our specific aims are to obtain DNA samples from each of the ~60 members of the Border Collie noise phobia pedigree, as well as ~50 pairs of unrelated noise phobia cases and controls for genetic analysis. These samples will be genotyped using microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for whole genome analysis. A combined analysis of the genetic and behavioral data will allow us to search for a gene or genes associated with noise phobia in affected dogs.


Yokoyama, J. S., Erdman, C. A., & Hamilton, S. P. (2010). Array-Based Whole-Genome Survey of Dog Saliva DNA Yields High Quality SNP Data. PLoS ONE, 5(5), e10809. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010809

Chang, M. L., Yokoyama, J. S., Branson, N., Dyer, D. J., Hitte, C., Overall, K. L., & Hamilton, S. P. (2009). Intrabreed Stratification Related to Divergent Selection Regimes in Purebred Dogs May Affect the Interpretation of Genetic Association Studies. Journal of Heredity, 100(suppl_1), S28–S36. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esp012

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