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Monitoring rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in traditional Swedish dog breeds of conservation concern using pedigree data
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics. (Populationsgenetik)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics. (Populationsgenetik)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9286-3361
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing conservation genetic focus is directed towards domestic animal populations because: 1) domestic animals are of direct socio-economic importance to humans, and 2) strong selective breeding for a single or a few traits are considered to rapidly deplete the genetic variability of many domestic animal populations. International policy work within the Convention on Biological Diversity identifies strategies for minimizing genetic erosion of domesticated animals as one of the key biodiversity targets for 2010-2020. We investigated recent rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in 12 traditional Swedish dog breeds, 10 of which have been identified as of conservation concern by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. We used studbook data provided by the Swedish Kennel Club with pedigrees dating back to the mid 20th century and comprising 5-10 generations with 350-60,000 individuals per pedigree. We assessed levels of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation measured in relation to the number of founding animals (founder alleles) among live animals at five points in time (1980, 1990, 2000, 2006, and 2012). We found average inbreeding coefficients among breeds to double over our period of monitoring, from an average of 0.03 over breeds in 1980 to 0.07 in 2012. This is in spite of the majority of breeds being large with pedigrees comprising thousands of individuals. The loss of genetic variation is extensive with an average of 70 percent loss of founder alleles over the study period, and the proportion of founder genome equivalents in relation to the number of founders is on average only 0.09. This is comparable to previously published rates of genetic variability loss in dog breeds, indicating that the explicit conservation goals for these traditional Swedish breeds is not yet reflected in conservation genetic status. One of the breeds is particularly threatened - the Gotland hound with less than 150 living individuals, but this breed also shows comparably larger retention of genetic variation.

Keyword [en]
animal genetic resources; conservation genetics; pedigree analysis; domestic dog, Canis familiaris, Convention on Biological Diversity, Aichi Target 13, genetic biodiversity
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100601OAI: diva2:694833
Available from: 2014-02-07 Created: 2014-02-07 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in canids, domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus), using pedigree data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in canids, domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus), using pedigree data
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic variation is necessary to maintain the ability of wild and domestic populations to genetically adapt to changed selective pressures. When relationships among individuals are known, conservation genetic management can be based on statistical pedigree analysis. Such approaches have traditionally focused on wild animal conservation breeding in captivity. In this thesis, I apply pedigree-based techniques to domestic and wild animal populations, focusing on two canids – the domestic dog and the wild wolf.

Main objectives include to 1) develop a means for making any pedigree fit the input requirements of the software Population Management x (PMx) and to use this program to 2) investigate rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in dog breeds, including possible correlations between recent inbreeding and health problems, 3) estimate effects on inbreeding of the 2010 hunt of the endangered Swedish wolf population, and to 4) evaluate the potential to genetically support this wolf population through cross-fostering releases of zoo bred pups from a conservation breeding program.

Results include successfully developing the converter program mPed (Paper I) and applying both mPed and PMx to dog and wolf pedigrees. I found extensive loss of genetic variation and moderate rates of recent inbreeding in 26 dog breeds, but no major difference in these parameters between breeds classified as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy“ (Paper II). I found average inbreeding coefficients to more than double (from F=0.03 to 0.07) and founder genetic variation to decrease by c. 30 percent over the past few decades in traditional Swedish dog breeds identified as being of conservation concern (Paper IV). Hunting will make it less likely to reach genetically based Favourable Conservation Status criteria for the Swedish wild wolf population (Paper III), but release of zoo bred wolves through cross-fostering may potentially almost double founder genetic variation of this population (Paper V).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2014. 72 p.
National Category
Research subject
Population Genetics
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100371 (URN)978-91-7447-858-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-07, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Epub ahead of print. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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