Genetic heterogeneity and diversity of North American golden retrievers using a low density STR marker panel

Eric S. Ontiveros, Shayne Hughes, Maria Cecilia T. Penedo, Robert A. Grahn, Joshua A. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Thirty-three autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers were used to evaluate genetic heterogeneity and diversity in 525 golden retrievers (GRs). This breed was selected because of its popularity and artificial selection for conformation vs. performance phenotypes. Seven additional STRs were used to evaluate the highly polymorphic dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) class I and class II regions. From 3 to 13 alleles were found at each of the 33 loci (mean 7) and the average effective alleles (Ne) was 3.34. The observed heterozygosity was 0.65 and the expected heterozygosity was 0.68. The resulting fixation index was 0.035 indicating that the population was randomly breeding. We found that modern GRs retain 46% of genomic diversity present in all canids and 21/175 (12%) and 20/90 (22%) of the known DLA class I and class II haplotypes, respectively. Selection for performance or conformation led to a narrowing of genomic and DLA diversity with conformation having a greater effect than performance. A comparison was made between coefficient of inbreeding (COI) determined from 10 or 12 generation pedigrees and DNA based internal relatedness values. A weak but significant correlation was observed between IR score and 10 or 12 generation COI (r = 0.38, p<0.0001 and r = 0.40, p<0.0001, respectively). IR values were higher in conformation than performance lines but only significant at p = 0.17. This was supported by 10 and 12 generation COI values that were significantly (p<0.0001) higher in conformation than performance lines. We demonstrate herein that a low density of STR markers can be utilized to study the genetic makeup of GRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0212171
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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