White coat color
Our white coat color study serves as proof of principle for association mapping using the canine SNP arrays. Breeding studies in the 1950s by Clarence Little designated the white coat variant as the extreme white, or sw, allele of the major white spotting locus (S). Several other alleles were also suggested to share the same locus, including Irish spotting (si), and piebald spotting (sp).
Latest Research Update: Using ten white and nine solid boxers we were able to find an area of the genome associated with white spotting coat color, specifically an area of the dog genome that contained an important developmental gene called MITF that is associated with pigment and auditory disorders in humans and mice. We then used a larger sample set of dogs from several breeds, which carry the trait for white spotting, to help pinpoint the mutation and we were able to identify the causative mutation to a region that regulates MITF gene activity.
See: "In dogs, a shortcut to mapping disease genes"
Publication: Karlsson et al. (2007) Efficient mapping of mendelian traits in dogs through genome-wide association. Nature Genetics DOI:10.1038/ng.2007.10
Main collaborators: Leif Andersson (Uppsala University), Göran Andersson (Swedish University of Agricultural Science)