Genetic Markers for Body Size in Dogs

Dogs exhibit the greatest diversity in body size of any mammalian species. To explore the genetic basis for size variation among dogs, the inventors compared the DNA of various small dog breeds to larger dog breeds. They found that variation in one gene, IGF-1, which codes for the protein hormone insulin-like growth factor 1, is very strongly associated with small stature across all dog breeds studied. An important determinant of body size in mammals, IGF-1 induces cell growth and differentiation and is a potent inhibitor of apoptosis. Analysis of DNA from over 3,000 dogs and 143 breeds revealed a specific IGF-1 gene sequence variant, or haplotype, associated with small size in the canine genetic code.

The invention discloses markers defining chromosomal haplotypes associated with adult body size in dogs. Also claimed are methods and kits for predicting adult body size in dogs using these markers. A genetic test based on this invention would be of use to breeders wishing to predict a dog’s size, and thus its conformance to the breed standard, at adulthood.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
Canine genetic test to predict adult body size. 

Development Stage:
Early stage


Nathaniel Sutter (NHGRI)  ➽ more inventions...

Elaine Ostrander (NHGRI)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
PCT Pat: - issued -
US Application No. 60/856,411 filed on 2006-11-02

N Sutter et al. A single IGF1 allele is a major determinant of small size in dogs. Science 2007 Apr 6;316(5821):112-115, doi: 10.1126/science.1137045. PubMed abs

Licensing Contact:
Admin. Licensing Specialist (ALS),

OTT Reference No: E-009-2007-0
Updated: Apr 1, 2007