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Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Insights Found in Study of Boxer Dog Breed

In PLOS Genetics, a team from Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the US outline genetic loci linked to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in dogs from the boxer breed. With a genome-wide association study, coupled with Bayesian mixed model analysis, the researchers searched for variants that distinguished 117 boxer dogs with CKD from 137 boxers without, including cases and controls from more than half a dozen countries around the world. The analyses highlighted 21 loci that contained significantly more variants than the same loci in unaffected control animals, they report, leading to follow-up analyses on corresponding genes, regulatory variants, and CKD polygenic risk score clues in more than 100 additional genome-sequenced boxers, 75 other dog breeds, and humans. In the boxer breed, for example, the authors suggest that the predicted CKD polygenic risk score "will open important possibilities for early intervention and preventive measures for young dogs, and additionally provides a unique opportunity for selection of the breeding dogs at the lowest risk to reduce disease incidence." More broadly, they argue that "studies of canine CKD may help us understand the pathology of kidney disease in both dogs and human patients, and show an important potential of early identification of patients in predictive medicine."