Animal Genetics 1

Research title:

Study of Italian dog breeds biodiversity

Tutor: Prof. Gustavo Gandini


Contact details

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Contact details: Prof .Gustavo Gandini, Department of Veterinary Medicine; Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano e.mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; phone: +390250318046


State of the art

Domestic dog breeds exhibit high phenotypic variability paired with a high within-population standardization. Application of genomic tools such as mid- and high-density SNPs chips can provide valuable source of information to understand population structures, to detect signatures of recent selection and to identify the genetic background of several traits. Recent works has identified that only a small number of quantitative trait loci explain the majority of variation for most of the traits studied in most dog breeds. This highlights the role of artificial selection as contributor in altering the genetic architecture of this species. In fact, many genomic regions show signatures of recent selection, with most of the highly differentiated regions associated with breed-defining traits. Even though there is an increasing interest in these approaches, dog breeds originating from Italy are still poorly characterized.



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Aims of the project

The aims of this project is to explore the genomic landscape of the Italian dog breeds, with a particular focus on understanding the variation between and within breeds, the distribution of the inbreeding levels and the genetic contributions of wild populations. Data of a representative sample of Italian dog breeds genotyped with the canine HD SNP chip will be used. The genomic regions detected as carrying signatures of recent selection will be analyzed to identify genes and the pathways in which they are involved. Applicants should have interest in molecular, population and statistical genetics. Basic laboratory skills and previous experience with genomic data management using Linux, Python, R are highly desirable.


Recent publications of the tutor in the field

Background Publications showing previous experience in the proposed research area

1) Andrea Talenti, Dayna L. Dreger, Federica Danelli, Stefano Frattini, Beatrice Coizet, Stefano P. Marelli, Giulio Pagnacco, Gustavo Gandini, Michele Polli, Romolo Caniglia, Marco Galaverni, Elaine A. Ostrander, Paola Crepaldi. Pedigree and genomic-based relationships in a dog population. Proceedings to 36th ISAG congress, Dublin 16-21 July 2017

2) Talenti A., Dreger D:L:, Frattini S., Coizet B., Danelli F., Marelli S.P., Picchi A., Riva J., Moretti E., Cocco R., Bigi D., Liotta L, Polli M., Gandini G., Pagnacco G., Ostrander E.A. and Crepaldi P.. Genomic Landscape and Biodiversity of Italian Dogs. Proceeding to 22nd ASPA congress, Perugia 13-16 June 2017

3) Talenti A., Dreger D.L., Danelli F., Frattini S., Coizet B., Marelli S.P., Pagnacco G., Gandini G., Polli M., Caniglia R., Galaverni M., Ostrander E.A., Crepaldi P.. Whole genome analysis of the Lupo Italiano. Proceeding to 22nd ASPA congress, Perugia 13-16 June 2017

4) Biscarini F., Nicolazzi E.L., Stella A., Boettcher B.J., Gandini G. Challenges and opportunities in genetic improvement of local livestock breeds. Frontiers in Genetics (2015) 6:33

5) Gandini G., Stella A., Del Corvo M., Jansen G.B., 2014.  Selection with inbreeding control in simulated young bull schemes for local dairy cattle breeds. Dairy Science (2014) 97:1-9