Homozygosity for Mobile Element Insertions Associated with WBSCR17 Could Predict Success in Assistance Dog Training Programs.

TitleHomozygosity for Mobile Element Insertions Associated with WBSCR17 Could Predict Success in Assistance Dog Training Programs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsTandon, D, Ressler, K, Petticord, D, Papa, A, Jiranek, J, Wilkinson, R, Kartzinel, RY, Ostrander, EA, Burney, N, Borden, C, Udell, MAR, vonHoldt, BM
JournalGenes (Basel)
Volume10
Issue6
Date Published2019 Jun 09
ISSN2073-4425
Abstract

Assistance dog training programs can see as many as 60% of their trainees dismissed. Many training programs utilize behavioral assays prior to admittance to identify likely successful candidates, yet such assays can be insconsistent. Recently, four canine retrotransposon mobile element insertions (MEIs) in or near genes WBSCR17 (Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7), GTF2I (Cfa6.66) and POM121 (Cfa6.83) were identified in domestic dogs and gray wolves. Variations in these MEIs were significantly associated with a heightened propensity to initiate prolonged social contact or hypersociability. Using our dataset of 837 dogs, 228 of which had paired survey-based behavioral data, we discovered that one of the insertions in WBSCR17 is the most important predictor of dog sociable behaviors related to human proximity, measured by the Canine Behavioral Assessment Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ©). We found a positive correlation between insertions at Cfa6.6 and dog separation distress in the form of restlessness when about to be left alone by the owner. Lastly, assistance dogs showed significant heterozygosity deficiency at locus Cfa6.6 and higher frequency of insertions at Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7. We suggest that training programs could utilize this genetic survey to screen for MEIs at WBSCR17 to identify dogs with sociable traits compatible with successful assistance dog performance.

DOI10.3390/genes10060439
Alternate JournalGenes (Basel)
PubMed ID31181852
Grant ListN/A / / Intramural Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute /
N/A / / Princeton University /