02261-MOU: Improvement of Risk Assessments for Dermatomyositis Testing

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $11,704
Leigh Anne Clark, PhD; Clemson University
April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017

Sponsor(s): American Shetland Sheepdog Association

Breed(s): Shetland Sheepdog
Research Program Area: Dermatology and Allergic Disease
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Dermatomyositis (DMS) is an autoimmune disease of the skin and muscle that is diagnosed almost exclusively in Shetland sheepdogs and collies. The onset of clinical signs of DMS can range from just a few months to several years of age, making elimination of DMS nearly impossible. Dr. Clark and her team have conducted genomic studies and identified genetic sequences that are highly associated with DMS development. This work has led to a genetic test for risk alleles of three different genes. Availability of a genetic test will allow breeders to identify breeding pairs that will produce puppies having genotypic combinations associated with a low risk of disease development, as well as to gradually reduce the frequency of risk alleles in the population. In order to increase the utility of this test, Dr. Clark will generate genotypes for a random population (i.e., not selected for or against DMS) for calculation of risk assessments. There are 18 possible genotypic combinations between the three genes, and it is necessary to study a large population to ensure that each genotype is observed several times and that accurate risk assessments are available.

Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of the American Shetland Sheepdog Association. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee administration of funds and scientific progress reports.


Evans, J. M., Noorai, R. E., Tsai, K. L., Starr-Moss, A. N., Hill, C. M., Anderson, K. J., … Clark, L. A. (2017). Beyond the MHC: A canine model of dermatomyositis shows a complex pattern of genetic risk involving novel loci. PLOS Genetics, 13(2), e1006604. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006604

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