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Genomics. 2004 Mar;83(3):361-72.

The canine olfactory subgenome.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and the Crown Human Genome Center, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


We identified 971 olfactory receptor (OR) genes in the dog genome, estimated to constitute approximately 80% of the canine OR repertoire. This was achieved by directed genomic DNA cloning of olfactory sequence tags as well as by mining the Celera canine genome sequences. The dog OR subgenome is estimated to have 12% pseudogenes, suggesting a functional repertoire similar to that of mouse and considerably larger than for humans. No novel OR families were discovered, but as many as 34 gene subfamilies were unique to the dog. "Fish-like" Class I ancient ORs constituted 18% of the repertoire, significantly more than in human and mouse. A set of 122 dog-human-mouse ortholog triplets was identified, with a relatively high fraction of Class I ORs. The elucidation of a large portion of the canine olfactory receptor gene superfamily, with some dog-specific attributes, may help us understand the unique chemosensory capacities of this species.

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