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AbstractRetinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a blinding eye disease affecting nearly two million people worldwide. Dogs are affected with a similar illness termed progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Lapponian herders (LHs) are affected with several types of inherited retinal dystrophies, and variants in PRCD and BEST1 genes have been associated with generalized PRA and canine multifocal retinopathy 3 (cmr3), respectively. However, all retinal dystrophy cases in LHs are not explained by these variants, indicating additional genetic causes of disease in the breed. We collected DNA samples from 10 PRA affected LHs, with known PRCD and BEST1 variants excluded, and 34 unaffected LHs. A genome-wide association study identified a locus on CFA20 (praw = 2.4 × 10–7, pBonf = 0.035), and subsequent whole-genome sequencing of an affected LH revealed a missense variant, c.3176G>A, in the intraflagellar transport 122 (IFT122) gene. The variant was also found in Finnish Lapphunds, in which its clinical relevancy needs to be studied further. The variant interrupts a highly conserved residue, p.(R1059H), in IFT122 and likely impairs its function. Variants in IFT122 have not been associated with retinal degeneration in mammals, but the loss of ift122 in zebrafish larvae impaired opsin transport and resulted in progressive photoreceptor degeneration. Our study establishes a new spontaneous dog model to study the role of IFT122 in RP biology, while the affected breed will benefit from a genetic test for a recessive condition.

Original publication




Journal article


Human Genetics


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date





1569 - 1579