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Genetics Research International
Volume 2011, Article ID 579308, 6 pages
Review Article

Origins of the Domestic Dog and the Rich Potential for Gene Mapping

1School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2 Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
3National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, 113 Phahonyothin Road Klong 1, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand

Received 25 June 2010; Revised 30 September 2010; Accepted 5 November 2010

Academic Editor: Tomaso Patarnello

Copyright © 2011 Jeremy R. Shearman and Alan N. Wilton. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The unique breeding structure of the domestic dog makes canine genetics a useful tool to further the understanding of inherited diseases and gene function. Answers to the questions of when and where the dog was domesticated from the wolf are uncertain, but how the modern diversity of dog breeds was developed is documented. Breed development has resulted in many genetically isolated populations which are segregating for different alleles for disease and morphological and behavioral traits. Many genetic tools are available for dog research allowing investigation into the genetic basis of these phenotypes. Research into causes of diseases in dogs is relevant to humans and other species; comparative genomics is being used to transfer genetic information to them, including some studies on morphological and behavioral phenotypes. Because of the unique breed structure and well-maintained pedigrees, dogs represent a model organism containing a wealth of genetic information.