Tag Archives: gene mutation

Albino Dobermans

Michigan State University researchers have identified a genetic mutation in Doberman pinschers that causes albinism in the breed, a discovery that has eluded veterinarians and breeders worldwide up until now.

Michigan State University photo

Michigan State University photo

Paige Winkler, a doctoral student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, says that the researchers found a gene mutation that results in a missing protein responsible for the pigmentation of cells.

Albino Dobermans possess a pink nose, white or very light colored coats, and pale irises in the eyes.  These characteristics are similar to human albinos who have light skin, eye discoloration and often experience visual problems.

Like human albinos, the albino Dobermans are sensitive to light and have an increased risk of skin tumors.

Winkler says that this discovery will help Doberman breeders in the future where breeding lines carrying the defective gene can be identified.

Source:  Michigan State University media statement

Dwarfism in dogs

Researchers at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Center led by Professor Hannes Lohi have found a gene mutation that causes chondrodysplasia (dwarfism) in the Norwegian Elkhound and the Karelian Bear Dog.  They have published their results in the journal PLoS One.

Photo by Saija Nieminen

A dwarf Norwegian Elkhound, photo by Saija Nieminen

When affected by the condition, dogs have considerably shorter limbs than normal dogs.  Other skeletal abnormalities may follow which include bowed forearms, abnormal digits (toes), and malformed femoral heads.

The mutation affects the collagen receptors during bone growth.

“Both breeds have now benefited from a genetic test that is available for dog owners”, says Professor Lohi.  There is hope that the mutation can be eradicated from the breeding population through use of the test.

Source:  University of Helsinki press statement