A Novel Locus on Canine Chromosome 13 Is Associated with Cataract in the Australian Shepherd Breed of Domestic Dog
S.L. Ricketts; L. Pettitt; B. McLaughlin; C.A. Jenkins; C.S. Mellersh
Kennel Club Genetics Centre, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK
Hereditary cataract is a common ocular disorder in the purebred dog population and is a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in dogs. Despite this, little is known to date about the genetics underlying this condition. We have used a genome-wide association study and targeted resequencing approach to identify a novel locus for cataracts in the Australian shepherd breed of dog, using dogs that are clear of an HSF4 mutation, previously identified as the major susceptibility locus in this breed. Cataract cases were defined as dogs with bilateral posterior cataracts, or bilateral nuclear cataracts. Controls were at least 8 years of age with no evidence of cataracts or other ocular abnormality. Using 15 bilateral posterior polar cataract cases and 68 controls, we identified a genome-wide statistical association for cataracts in the Australian shepherd on canine chromosome 13 at 46.4 Mb (p value = 1.5 x 10-7). We sequenced the 14.16 Mb associated region in ten Australian shepherds to search for possible causal variants underlying the association signal and conducted additional fine mapping of the region by genotyping 28 intronic variants that segregated correctly in our ten sequenced dogs. From this analysis, the strongest associated variants were located in intron 5 of the SCFD2 gene. Further study will require analysis of additional cases and controls and ocular tissue from dogs affected with bilateral cataracts that are free of the HSF4 mutation.