02387-MOU: Hereditary Deafness in Dogs – Genomic Studies in English Setters Using Full Sibling Pairs

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
George Strain, MS, PhD; Louisiana State University
September 1, 2017 - May 31, 2019

Sponsor(s): English Setter Association of America, Inc.

Breed(s): English Setter
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Hereditary deafness associated with white pigmentation occurs in several dog breeds. The mechanism of inheritance is unknown but does not appear to be simple Mendelian. Numerous studies to determine the mode of inheritance and locate the causative gene(s) have thus far failed. The investigators will use a unique modified twin study approach in an effort to determine the mode of inheritance and locate the causative gene(s). Full-sibling littermates will be identified, where one puppy has normal hearing and one is deaf. Like human twins, full siblings should have very similar DNA, which will reduce the variability of the DNA samples when compared to studies of unrelated dogs. The study of pairs of English Setters will be added to an ongoing study examining differences in Dalmatian and Australian Cattle Dog pairs. Identifying candidate deafness genes will be an important breakthrough to understanding deafness in dogs and people, with a goal to establish a genetic test to reduce or eliminate deafness in these canine populations.

Funding for the research is provided through the collaborative efforts and generosity of the English Setter Association of America. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee grant administration and scientific progress reports.


Seddon, J. M., Fortes, M., Kelly-Smith, M., Sommerlad, S. F., Hayward, J. J., Burmeister, L., Risio, L. D., Mellersh, C., Freeman, J., & Strain, G. M. (2021). Deafness in Australian Cattle Dogs associated to QTL on chromosome 20 in genome-wide association study analyses. Animal Genetics. https://doi.org/10.1111/age.13115

Kelly-Smith, M., & Strain, G. M. (2020). STRING Data Mining of GWAS Data in Canine Hereditary Pigment-Associated Deafness. Veterinary and Animal Science, 100118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vas.2020.100118

Hayward, J. J., Kelly-Smith, M., Boyko, A. R., Burmeister, L., De Risio, L., Mellersh, C., Freeman, J., & Strain, G. M. (2020). A genome-wide association study of deafness in three canine breeds. PLOS ONE, 15(5), e0232900. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232900

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