Incidence of overweight and obesity in dogs exceeds 30%, according to researchers, and several breeds are predisposed to this heritable phenotype. The progress of canine genomics and advanced knowledge on the genetic background of human obesity bring an opportunity to perform such studies in dogs.
Natural candidate genes for obesity are these encoding adipokines. Extended studies in humans indicated that polymorphisms of three of them, i.e., ADIPOQ, IL1 and TNF, are associated with predisposition to obesity. On the other hand, the use of genome-wide association studies revealed an association between human obesity and polymorphism of more than 50 other genes. Until now only few preliminary reports on polymorphism of canine FTO, MC4R, MC3R and PPARG genes have been published.
Since the dog is a valuable model organism for human diseases one can foresee that such studies may also contribute to an in-depth understanding of human obesity pathogenesis.
Source: M. Switonski et al., 2013. Dog obesity-The need for identifying predisposing genetic markers. Res Vet Sci online, December 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2013.08.015.