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Tess Crider

Isolation and Characterization of Canine Y Chromosome Genes

Tess Crider1,5, Alison Pearks Wilkerson2,5, David Dies5, Terje Raudsepp2,5, Bhanu Chowdhary2,5, Malcom Ferguson-Smith3,4, Patricia O'Brien3,4 and William Murphy2,5

1DVM Class of 2011, 2Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences; 3Cambridge Resource Centre for Comparative Genomics; 4Cambridge University Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom; 5College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Tess Crider

Objective – The specific aims of this project were 1.) to identify and characterize Y chromosome genes from the dog using cDNA selection, 2.) to develop gene and regional-specific markers and determine their copy number, and 3.) to assess each gene’s expression profile in a suite of canine tissues.

Animals or Sample Population

Procedure – We used direct cDNA selection to enrich for Y chromosome transcripts from the dog testis and from isolated BAC clones spanning the Y chromosome.  For each gene, we determined whether it was single or multi-copy by quantitative PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).  Genetic markers from individual BAC clones that span the chromosome were developed and tested for male(Y)-specificity, and single copy status use quantitative PCR.

Results – We identified partial or full length dog cDNA fragments from a total of eleven previously known mammalian Y chromosome genes, and two carnivore-specific Y cDNAs, confirming that our selection procedure enriches for Y chromosome transcripts.  We isolated six novel transcripts that are not present as functional genes on other mammalian Y chromosomes. 

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – FISH mapping data using the cDNA clones as probes suggests that at least four of the novel transcripts, and TSPY and CUL4BY, are present as multiple copies on the dog Y chromosome. These results confirm that the Y chromosomes of different mammals have unique repertoires of lineage-specific genes that likely have important roles in spermatogenesis.

Impact for Human Medicine – Analysis of the dog Y chromosome may identify new mammalian genes that are critical for spermatogenesis, and in return, provide further insight into genes that cause human infertility.