Publications by authors named "Jeremy J Allen"

2 Publications

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Derived variants at six genes explain nearly half of size reduction in dog breeds.

Genome Res 2013 Dec 11;23(12):1985-95. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA;

Selective breeding of dogs by humans has generated extraordinary diversity in body size. A number of multibreed analyses have been undertaken to identify the genetic basis of this diversity. We analyzed four loci discovered in a previous genome-wide association study that used 60,968 SNPs to identify size-associated genomic intervals, which were too large to assign causative roles to genes. First, we performed fine-mapping to define critical intervals that included the candidate genes GHR, HMGA2, SMAD2, and STC2, identifying five highly associated markers at the four loci. We hypothesize that three of the variants are likely to be causative. We then genotyped each marker, together with previously reported size-associated variants in the IGF1 and IGF1R genes, on a panel of 500 domestic dogs from 93 breeds, and identified the ancestral allele by genotyping the same markers on 30 wild canids. We observed that the derived alleles at all markers correlated with reduced body size, and smaller dogs are more likely to carry derived alleles at multiple markers. However, breeds are not generally fixed at all markers; multiple combinations of genotypes are found within most breeds. Finally, we show that 46%-52.5% of the variance in body size of dog breeds can be explained by seven markers in proximity to exceptional candidate genes. Among breeds with standard weights <41 kg (90 lb), the genotypes accounted for 64.3% of variance in weight. This work advances our understanding of mammalian growth by describing genetic contributions to canine size determination in non-giant dog breeds.
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December 2013

Four loci explain 83% of size variation in the horse.

PLoS One 2012 11;7(7):e39929. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America.

Horse body size varies greatly due to intense selection within each breed. American Miniatures are less than one meter tall at the withers while Shires and Percherons can exceed two meters. The genetic basis for this variation is not known. We hypothesize that the breed population structure of the horse should simplify efforts to identify genes controlling size. In support of this, here we show with genome-wide association scans (GWAS) that genetic variation at just four loci can explain the great majority of horse size variation. Unlike humans, which are naturally reproducing and possess many genetic variants with weak effects on size, we show that horses, like other domestic mammals, carry just a small number of size loci with alleles of large effect. Furthermore, three of our horse size loci contain the LCORL, HMGA2 and ZFAT genes that have previously been found to control human height. The LCORL/NCAPG locus is also implicated in cattle growth and HMGA2 is associated with dog size. Extreme size diversification is a hallmark of domestication. Our results in the horse, complemented by the prior work in cattle and dog, serve to pinpoint those very few genes that have played major roles in the rapid evolution of size during domestication.
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March 2013