Unravelling selection signatures in a single dog breed suggests recent selection for morphological and behavioral traits

Juliane Friedrich*, Andrea Talenti, Per Arvelius, Erling Strandberg, MJ Haskell, Pamela Wiener*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Strong selection has resulted in substantial morphological and behavioral diversity across modern dog breeds, which makes dogs interesting model animals to study the underlying genetic architecture of these traits. However, results from between-breed analyses may confound selection signatures for behavior and morphological features that were coselected during breed development. In this study, we assess population genetic differences in a unique resource of dogs of the same breed but with systematic behavioral selection in only one population. We exploit these different breeding backgrounds to identify signatures of recent selection. Selection signatures within populations were found on chromosomes 4 and 19, with the strongest signals in behavior-related genes. Regions showing strong signals of divergent selection were located on chromosomes 1, 24, and 32, and include candidate genes for both physical features and behavior. Some of the selection signatures appear to be driven by loci associated with coat color (Chr 24; ASIP) and length (Chr 32; FGF5), while others showed evidence of association with behavior. Our findings suggest that signatures of selection within dog breeds have been driven by selection for morphology and behavior. Furthermore, we demonstrate that combining selection scans with association analyses is effective for dissecting the traits under selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10024
JournalGenetics and Genomics Next
Issue number1
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPrint publication - Dec 2020


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