Meeting Abstract

S2-1.8  Jan. 4  Links between the genetic architecture and functional morphology of the canid skeleton LARK, K/G*; CHASE, K; CARRIER, D/R; University of Utah; University of Utah; University of Utah lark@bioscience.utah.edu

Complex phenotypes, such as the size and shape of the mammalian skeleton, are composed of many individual polygenic components, Quantitative Traits. Purebred dog breeds are a valuable resource for the genetic analysis of complex traits. More than 200 such populations exist. Here we review the use of one such population, the Portuguese Water Dog, to analyze the genetic architecture that informs the canine skeleton. The analysis has provided insights to three interesting phenotypes: Size sexual dimorphism (males are on average larger than females); bilateral asymmetry—QTLs that affect one side of the animal (right or left) to a far greater extent than the other side; and functional morphology— single loci that affect multiple parts of the anatomy (e.g. skull and limbs) to change shape along axes of variation that represent trade-offs between speed and power. The sequence of the canine genome now provides an additional resource that, when coupled with the use of purebred populations, will allow the further dissection of individual QTLs into the relevant genes that comprise each locus.