November 11, 2017

Confirmation that a deletion in the POMC gene is associated with body weight of Labrador Retriever dogs

14-bp deletion in the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene is only present in Labrador and Flat Coat Retrievers. Deletion is not present in POMC of other breeds.  The aim of the research is to confirm that this deletion causes disruption of β-MSH (Beta melanocyte stimulating hormone) and β-endorpvhin coding sequences, and associated with increased body weight and obesity.

The research studied a total of 272 healthy dogs, including four breeds of Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Cocker Spaniel.

 While details such as adiposity rates were collected from each dog, more detailed information was collected from 126 Labradors, such as BCS, body weight, sex, neutering status, age, and genotype. 59 were males and 67 were females, with the mean age of 54 months and the mean body weight of 36 kg.

 To analyze genotypes of POMC locus, blood samples were collected from the dogs. Two types of POMC genes were found: wild type (WT) and 14-bp deletion (DEL).

 DEL was only present in Labrador Retrievers, and this confirmed that the DEL was associated with body weight of Labrador Retrievers. Though its effects were recessive in this study; there was no statistically significant difference in body weights between dogs with WT/WT and WT/DEL genotypes.

 This result is different from the previous study of Raffan et al conducted in 2016. The difference between this study and the previous one is sizes of the cohorts. Previous study studied larger cohort of Labradors.


The paper points out more senior dogs (>4y) as one of the possible improvements, because obesity presents in them. They also make clear that the effect of DEL needs further studies of which approach possibly similar to that of human genetic markers.






Reviewed by Yunji Baik

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