Coat variation in the domestic dog is governed by variants in three genes

Edouard Cadieu, Mark W. Neff, Pascale Quignon, Kari Walsh, Kevin Chase, Heidi G. Parker, Bridgett Marie vonHoldt, Alison Rhue, Adam B. Boyko, Alexandra Byers, Aaron Wong, Dana S. Mosher, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Tyrone C. Spady, Catherine André, Gordon K. Lark, Michelle Cargill, Carlos D. Bustamante, Robert K. Wayne, Elaine A. Ostrander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Coat color and type are essential characteristics of domestic dog breeds. Although the genetic basis of coat color has been well characterized, relatively little is known about the genes influencing coat growth pattern, length, and curl. We performed genome-wide association studies of more than 1000 dogs from 80 domestic breeds to identify genes associated with canine fur phenotypes. Taking advantage of both inter- and intrabreed variability, we identified distinct mutations in three genes, RSPO2, FGF5, and KRT71 (encoding R-spondin-2, fibroblast growth factor-5, and keratin-71, respectively), that together account for most coat phenotypes in purebred dogs in the United States. Thus, an array of varied and seemingly complex phenotypes can be reduced to the combinatorial effects of only a few genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-153
Number of pages4
Issue number5949
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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