Identification of risk loci for necrotizing meningoencephalitis in Pug dogs.
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Due to their unique population structure, purebred dogs have emerged as a key model for the study of complex genetic disorders. To evaluate the utility of a newly available high-density canine whole-genome array with >170,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genome-wide association was performed on a small number of case and control dogs to determine disease susceptibility loci in canine necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), a disorder with known non-Mendelian inheritance that shares clinical similarities with atypical variants of multiple sclerosis in humans. Genotyping of 30 NME-affected Pug dogs and 68 healthy control Pugs identified 2 loci associated with NME, including a region within dog leukocyte antigen class II on chromosome 12 that remained significant after Bonferroni correction. Our results support the utility of this high-density SNP array, confirm that dogs are a powerful model for mapping complex genetic disorders and provide important preliminary data to support in depth genetic analysis of NME in numerous affected breeds.