The long and the short of it: evidence that FGF5 is a major determinant of canine ‘hair’-itability

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SummaryHair length in dogs has been known for many years to be primarily controlled by a limited number of genes, but none of the genes have been identified. One of these genes produces a recessively inherited long-haired phenotype that has been thought to explain the bulk of hair-length variation among many breeds. Sequence analysis of the FGF5 gene in short and long-haired corgis resulted in the identification of two coding region differences: a duplication in a relatively non-conserved region of the gene and a missense mutation, resulting in the substitution of Phe for Cys, in a highly conserved region. Genotyping of 218 dogs from three breeds fixed for long hair, eight breeds fixed for short hair and five breeds in which long hair is segregating provided evidence that the missense mutation is associated with the hair-length differences among these breeds.

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