Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Dog Y chromosomal DNA sequence: identification, sequencing and SNP discovery

Christian Natanaelsson1, Mattias CR Oskarsson1, Helen Angleby1, Joakim Lundeberg1, Ewen Kirkness2 and Peter Savolainen1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Biotechnology, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, AlbaNova University Center, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden

2 The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Rockville, MD 20850, USA

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BMC Genetics 2006, 7:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-7-45

Published: 6 October 2006



Population genetic studies of dogs have so far mainly been based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA, describing only the history of female dogs. To get a picture of the male history, as well as a second independent marker, there is a need for studies of biallelic Y-chromosome polymorphisms.

However, there are no biallelic polymorphisms reported, and only 3200 bp of non-repetitive dog Y-chromosome sequence deposited in GenBank, necessitating the identification of dog Y chromosome sequence and the search for polymorphisms therein. The genome has been only partially sequenced for one male dog, disallowing mapping of the sequence into specific chromosomes. However, by comparing the male genome sequence to the complete female dog genome sequence, candidate Y-chromosome sequence may be identified by exclusion.


The male dog genome sequence was analysed by Blast search against the human genome to identify sequences with a best match to the human Y chromosome and to the female dog genome to identify those absent in the female genome. Candidate sequences were then tested for male specificity by PCR of five male and five female dogs.

32 sequences from the male genome, with a total length of 24 kbp, were identified as male specific, based on a match to the human Y chromosome, absence in the female dog genome and male specific PCR results. 14437 bp were then sequenced for 10 male dogs originating from Europe, Southwest Asia, Siberia, East Asia, Africa and America. Nine haplotypes were found, which were defined by 14 substitutions. The genetic distance between the haplotypes indicates that they originate from at least five wolf haplotypes. There was no obvious trend in the geographic distribution of the haplotypes.


We have identified 24159 bp of dog Y-chromosome sequence to be used for population genetic studies. We sequenced 14437 bp in a worldwide collection of dogs, identifying 14 SNPs for future SNP analyses, and giving a first description of the dog Y-chromosome phylogeny.