Since the annotation of its genome a decade ago, the dog has proven to be an excellent model for the study of inherited diseases. A large variety of spontaneous simple and complex phenotypes occur in dogs, providing physiologically relevant models to corresponding human conditions. In addition, gene discovery is facilitated in clinically less heterogeneous purebred dogs with closed population structures because smaller study cohorts and fewer markers are often sufficient to expose causal variants. Here, we review the development of genomic resources from microsatellites to whole-genome sequencing and give examples of successful findings that have followed the technological progress. The increasing amount of whole-genome sequence data warrants better functional annotation of the canine genome to more effectively utilise this unique model to understand genetic contributions in morphological, behavioural and other complex traits.
© 2016 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.