Demographic assessment of the Dalmatian dog : effective population size, linkage disequilibrium and inbreeding coefficients
<h4>Background</h4>The calculation of demographic measures is a useful tool for evaluating the genomic architecture of dog breeds and enables ranking dog breeds in terms of genetic diversity. To achieve this for the German Dalmatian dog population, 307 purebred animals of this breed were genotyped on the Illumina Canine high density BeadChip. The analysis of pedigree-based inbreeding was performed based on a pedigree with 25,761 dogs including the genotyped dogs.<h4>Results</h4>The effective population size derived from squared correlation coefficients between SNP alleles (<i>r</i> <sup>2</sup>) was 69. The maximum value of <i>r</i> <sup>2</sup> was 0.56, resulting in a 50% decay value of 0.28 at a marker distance of 37.5 kb. The effective population size calculated from pedigree data using individual increase in inbreeding over equivalent generations was 116. The pedigree inbreeding coefficient was 0.026. The genomic inbreeding coefficient based on the length of runs of homozygosity (ROH) was calculated for seven length categories of ROHs, and ranged from 0.08 to 0.28. The fixation coefficients F<sub>IS_PED</sub> and F<sub>IS_GENO</sub> were at 0.017 and 0.004. PANTHER statistical overrepresentation analysis of genes located in consensus ROHs revealed highly underrepresented biological processes in 50% of the investigated dogs. One of those is the 0.28 fold enriched "immune response", which might be associated to the high prevalence of allergic dermatitis in the breed. Candidate genes for congenital sensorineural deafness (CCSD, a highly prevalent disease in the Dalmatian) were discovered in consensus ROHs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The fast decay of <i>r</i> <sup>2</sup> and the moderate inbreeding coefficients indicate that the German Dalmatian dog population is rather diverse. Pedigree- and genomic-based inbreeding measures were highly correlated and therefore prove good reliability for the given population. Analyses of consensus ROHs with genes coding for deafness and other breed-defining traits, such as hyperuricosuria, indicate that those ROH became fixed in the Dalmatian population about 500 years ago. In case of the Dalmatian dog, a ROH of 40 SNPs length is enough to investigate signatures of selection (e.g. the ROH with the fixed hyperuricosuria mutation) as far back as the breed formation point approximately 500 years ago.