1262: Sequencing and Functional Analysis of the Canine Y Chromosome

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $105,478
William J. Murphy, PhD; Texas A&M Research Foundation
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2011

Sponsor(s): Belgian Sheepdog Club of America, Inc., Chow Chow Club, Inc., Golden Retriever Foundation, Keeshond Club of America

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Reproductive Conditions
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Project Summary

The causes of male infertility in dogs are not well known. Though much is now known about genes on the dog autosomes and X chromosome, owing to the canine genome sequence, virtually nothing is known about the canine Y chromosome and the genes it harbors. Studies of the human and mouse Y chromosomes have shown that they contain many testis-specific genes that when defective cause infertility and spermatogenesis defects. We also hypothesize that the canine Y chromosome harbors genes/transcripts that influence (regulate) many non-reproductive phenotypes, as observed in flies, rodents and humans, which are relevant to many other aspects of canine biology. Determining the sequence content copy number and function of the dog Y chromosome is of primary importance in identifying genes involved in male infertility, though the Y chromosome may also contain genes involved in other male-specific traits/dimorphisms. We have generated a high quality Y chromosome sequence in collaboration with the Washington University Genome Center. We have defined the gene content of the last canine chromosome, and examined the expression profile of the genes identified thus far. We have identified several genes and gene control regions which may be important in regulating spermatogenesis. The Doberman pinscher Y chromosome reference sequence will serve as a tool to obtain the Y chromosome sequence in any dog breed to examine whether some breeds are predisposed to infertility due to structural instability in the repetitive regions of the Y chromosome.


Li, G., Davis, B. W., Raudsepp, T., Pearks Wilkerson, A. J., Mason, V. C., Ferguson-Smith, M., … Murphy, W. J. (2013). Comparative analysis of mammalian Y chromosomes illuminates ancestral structure and lineage-specific evolution. Genome Research, 23(9), 1486–1495. https://doi.org/10.1101/gr.154286.112

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