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Concept: Purebred


There are nearly 400 modern domestic dog breeds with a unique histories and genetic profiles. To track the genetic signatures of breed development, we have assembled the most diverse dataset of dog breeds, reflecting their extensive phenotypic variation and heritage. Combining genetic distance, migration, and genome-wide haplotype sharing analyses, we uncover geographic patterns of development and independent origins of common traits. Our analyses reveal the hybrid history of breeds and elucidate the effects of immigration, revealing for the first time a suggestion of New World dog within some modern breeds. Finally, we used cladistics and haplotype sharing to show that some common traits have arisen more than once in the history of the dog. These analyses characterize the complexities of breed development, resolving longstanding questions regarding individual breed origination, the effect of migration on geographically distinct breeds, and, by inference, transfer of trait and disease alleles among dog breeds.

Concepts: Origin, Landrace, Purebred, Selective breeding, Gene, Dog, Dog type, Dog breed


We investigate the relationship between characteristics of dog breeds and their popularity between years 1926 and 2005. We consider breed health, longevity, and behavioral qualities such as aggressiveness, trainability, and fearfulness. We show that a breed’s overall popularity, fluctuations in popularity, and rates of increase and decrease around popularity peaks show typically no correlation with these breed characteristics. One exception is the finding that more popular breeds tend to suffer from more inherited disorders. Our results support the hypothesis that dog breed popularity has been primarily determined by fashion rather than function.

Concepts: Dog, Labrador Retriever, Purebred, Dog breed


Domestic cats have a unique breeding history and can be used as models for human hereditary and infectious diseases. In the current era of genome-wide association studies, insights regarding linkage disequilibrium (LD) are essential for efficient association studies. The objective of this study is to investigate the extent of LD in the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, particularly within its breeds. A custom illumina GoldenGate Assay consisting of 1536 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) equally divided over ten 1 Mb chromosomal regions was developed, and genotyped across 18 globally recognized cat breeds and two distinct random bred populations. The pair-wise LD descriptive measure (r(2)) was calculated between the SNPs in each region and within each population independently. LD decay was estimated by determining the non-linear least-squares of all pair-wise estimates as a function of distance using established models. The point of 50% decay of r(2) was used to compare the extent of LD between breeds. The longest extent of LD was observed in the Burmese breed, where the distance at which r(2) ≈ 0.25 was ∼380 kb, comparable to several horse and dog breeds. The shortest extent of LD was found in the Siberian breed, with an r(2) ≈ 0.25 at approximately 17 kb, comparable to random bred cats and human populations. A comprehensive haplotype analysis was also conducted. The haplotype structure of each region within each breed mirrored the LD estimates. The LD of cat breeds largely reflects the breeds' population history and breeding strategies. Understanding LD in diverse populations will contribute to an efficient use of the newly developed SNP array for the cat in the design of genome-wide association studies, as well as to the interpretation of results for the fine mapping of disease and phenotypic traits.

Concepts: Cats, SNP array, Breed, Cat breed, Felidae, Purebred, Felis, Cat


The domestic dog may be the most morphologically diverse terrestrial mammalian species known to man; pedigree dogs are artificially selected for extreme aesthetics dictated by formal Breed Standards, and breed-related disorders linked to conformation are ubiquitous and diverse. Brachycephaly-foreshortening of the facial skeleton-is a discrete mutation that has been selected for in many popular dog breeds e.g. the Bulldog, Pug, and French Bulldog. A chronic, debilitating respiratory syndrome, whereby soft tissue blocks the airways, predominantly affects dogs with this conformation, and thus is labelled Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). Despite the name of the syndrome, scientific evidence quantitatively linking brachycephaly with BOAS is lacking, but it could aid efforts to select for healthier conformations. Here we show, in (1) an exploratory study of 700 dogs of diverse breeds and conformations, and (2) a confirmatory study of 154 brachycephalic dogs, that BOAS risk increases sharply in a non-linear manner as relative muzzle length shortens. BOAS only occurred in dogs whose muzzles comprised less than half their cranial lengths. Thicker neck girths also increased BOAS risk in both populations: a risk factor for human sleep apnoea and not previously realised in dogs; and obesity was found to further increase BOAS risk. This study provides evidence that breeding for brachycephaly leads to an increased risk of BOAS in dogs, with risk increasing as the morphology becomes more exaggerated. As such, dog breeders and buyers should be aware of this risk when selecting dogs, and breeding organisations should actively discourage exaggeration of this high-risk conformation in breed standards and the show ring.

Concepts: Landrace, Breed standard, Bulldog, Dog health, Selective breeding, Dog, Purebred, Dog breed


Selective breeding for speed in the racehorse has resulted in an unusually high frequency of the C-variant (g.66493737C/T) at the myostatin gene (MSTN) in cohorts of the Thoroughbred horse population that are best suited to sprint racing. Here we show using a combination of molecular- and pedigree-based approaches in 593 horses from 22 Eurasian and North-American horse populations, museum specimens from 12 historically important Thoroughbred stallions (b.1764-1930), 330 elite-performing modern Thoroughbreds and 42 samples from three other equid species that the T-allele was ancestral and there was a single introduction of the C-allele at the foundation stages of the Thoroughbred from a British-native mare. Furthermore, we show that although the C-allele was rare among the celebrated racehorses of the 18th and 19th centuries, it has proliferated recently in the population via the stallion Nearctic (b.1954), the sire of the most influential stallion of modern time, Northern Dancer (b.1961).

Concepts: Breed registry, Purebred, Thoroughbred horse race, American Quarter Horse, Arabian horse, Thoroughbred, Horse racing, Horse


Gene-environment interactions have an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders. To generate and validate a new substrain of rats with signs related to schizophrenia, we used selective breeding after postweaning social isolation and chronic ketamine treatment through several generations of animals and compared the subsequent strain to naive rats that were not genetically manipulated. We further investigated whether social isolation and ketamine treatment augmented the appearance of schizophrenic-like signs in these rats. Four experimental groups were studied (n=6-15 rats/group): naive rats without any treatment (NaNo); naive rats with postweaning social isolation and ketamine treatment (NaTr); 15(th) generation of selectively bred animals without any treatment (SelNo) or selectively bred rats with both isolation and ketamine treatment (SelTr). The startle reaction, tail-flick and novel object recognition tests were used to classify the animals into low- or high-risk for schizophrenia. Reduced pain sensitivity, higher degree of the startle reaction, disturbed prepulse inhibition, altered motor activity and decreased differentiation index in the memory test were observed in the 15(th) generation of the substrain, along with enhanced grooming behavior. Five functional indices (TF latency, startle reaction, prepulse inhibition, differentiation index, and grooming activity) were rated from 0 - 2, and the analysis of the summarized score revealed that the NaNo group had the lowest overall indication of schizophrenic-like signs, while the SelTr animals scored the highest, suggesting that both heritable and environmental factors were important in the generation of the behavioral alterations. We assume that further breeding after this complex treatment may lead to a valid and reliable animal model of schizophrenia.

Concepts: Genetics, Ketamine, Crossbreed, Purebred, Breeding, Schizophrenia, Breed, Selective breeding


Significant proportions of horses leave the Australian Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries, which has ramifications for both the economic sustainability and the public perception of racing. The aim of this study was to quantify potential horse wastage, describe the destinations of exiting horses and identify risk factors for horses going to these destinations.

Concepts: Purebred, Patti Smith, Breed registry, Arabian horse, Horse racing, Sustainability, Horse gait, Standardbred horse


To compare five different protocols for estimating the lactate minimum speed (LMS) with that for estimating the maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) in Arabian horses, in order to obtain a more rapid method for monitoring aerobic capacity and prescribing training schedules.

Concepts: World Arabian Horse Association, Barb, Thoroughbred, Horse breeding, Thermodynamics, Purebred, Horse, Arabian horse


The study included 249 horses belonging to three horse breeds. Konik horses, comprising the first group, are an example of breed similar to the extinct Tarpan. In our study, these horses were taken to be a primitive anatomical model of the horse body. The other groups comprised the Polish Half-bred horse and the Thoroughbred horse. The biometric characteristics of the horses were compared based on 24 indices. The aim of the paper was to find a reduced set of indices that can be used to determine group membership of the horses. To do this, we used statistical methods to find the most important indices which best discriminate breeds from each other. Chi-Squared statistics, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Logistic Regression and one-way ANOVA showed that the discrimination between groups of horses is connected with the following five indices: scapula, smaller trunk (distance between the tubercle of humerus and the coxal tuber), greater trunk (distance between the tubercle of humerus and the ischial tuberosity), metacarpus circumference and hind autopodium-smaller trunk. Thoroughbred and Half-bred horses are clearly different in exterior conformation from Konik horses. The differences between Thoroughbred and Half-bred horses are more subtle. The conformation of Thoroughbreds is jointly determined by relatively small differences in a range of features.

Concepts: Horse racing, Gray, Crossbreed, Thoroughbred, Horse, Breed registry, Arabian horse, Purebred


The Y chromosome directly reflects male genealogies, but the extremely low Y chromosome sequence diversity in horses has prevented the reconstruction of stallion genealogies [1, 2]. Here, we resolve the first Y chromosome genealogy of modern horses by screening 1.46 Mb of the male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) in 52 horses from 21 breeds. Based on highly accurate pedigree data, we estimated the de novo mutation rate of the horse MSY and showed that various modern horse Y chromosome lineages split much later than the domestication of the species. Apart from few private northern European haplotypes, all modern horse breeds clustered together in a roughly 700-year-old haplogroup that was transmitted to Europe by the import of Oriental stallions. The Oriental horse group consisted of two major subclades: the Original Arabian lineage and the Turkoman horse lineage. We show that the English Thoroughbred MSY was derived from the Turkoman lineage and that English Thoroughbred sires are largely responsible for the predominance of this haplotype in modern horses.

Concepts: Haplogroup, Purebred, Akhal-Teke, Domestication of the horse, Arabian horse, Genetic genealogy, Genealogical DNA test, Horse