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A deletion in the canine POMC gene is associated with weight and appetite in obesity prone Labrador retriever dogs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Eleanor Raffan
  • Rowena J Dennis
  • Conor J O'Donovan
  • Julia M Becker
  • Robert A Scott
  • Stephen P Smith
  • David J Withers
  • Claire J Wood
  • Elena Conci
  • Alexander J German
  • Cathryn S Mellersh
  • Maja L Arendt
  • Valentine P Iyemere
  • E Withers
  • Josefin Soder
  • Sara Wernersson
  • Goran Andersson
  • Kerstin Lindblad-Toh
  • Giles S H Yeo
  • Stephen O'Rahilly

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-900
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016


Sequencing of candidate genes for obesity in Labrador retriever dogs identified a 14 bp deletion in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) with an allele frequency of 12%. The deletion disrupts the b-MSH and b-endorphin coding sequences and is associated with body weight (per allele effect of 0.33 SD), adiposity, and greater food motivation. Among other dog breeds, the deletion was only found in the closely related flat-coat retriever (FCR), where it is similarly associated with body weight and food motivation. The mutation is significantly more common in Labrador retrievers selected to become assistance dogs than pets. In conclusion, the deletion in POMC is a significant modifier of weight and appetite in Labrador retrievers and FCRs and may influence other behavioral traits.

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