This research is supported in part by NIH award to SPH (R21 MH084149). JSY was supported in part by NIH-NIMH Predoctoral Training Consortium in Affective Science (T32 MH20006). JSY and ETL were supported in part by NIH Training Grant T32 GM007175. HL was supported by the Academy of Finland, the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, and the Biocentrum Finland. Part of this work was supported by intramural funds from both the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis and the Van Andel Research Institute to MWN.
Border collie, Dogs -- Health, Hearing disorders
The domestic dog offers a unique opportunity to study complex disorders similar to those seen in humans, but within the context of the much simpler genetic backgrounds of pure breeds, which represent closed populations. We performed a whole-genome search for genetic risk factors of adult-onset deafness in the Border Collie, a breed of herding dog that relies on acute hearing to perceive and respond to commands while working. Adult-onset deafness in Border Collies typically begins in early adulthood and is similar to age-related hearing loss in humans. This earlier onset has particular impact on the utility of working Border Collies and the livelihoods of their owners, and it appears to have a genetic cause. We identified three genetic variants that were strongly associated with adult-onset deafness in a sample of 405 Border Collies. These variants are located in two genes that have previously been linked to deafness, one involved in ear development and another that appears to mitigate tissue damage in the ear. These results provide new insight regarding genetic risk factors for age-related hearing loss in both dogs and humans.
Yokoyama JS, Lam ET, Ruhe AL, Erdman CA, Robertson KR, et al. (2012) Variation in Genes Related to Cochlear Biology Is Strongly Associated with Adult-Onset Deafness in Border Collies. PLoS Genet 8(9): e1002898.