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Goniodysgenesis is a developmental abnormality of the anterior chamber of the eye. It is generally considered to be congenital in dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), and has been associated with glaucoma and blindness. Goniodysgenesis and early-onset glaucoma initially emerged in Border Collies in Australia in the late 1990s and has subsequently been found in this breed in Europe and the USA. The objective of the present study was to determine the genetic basis of goniodysgenesis in Border Collies. Clinical diagnosis was based on results of examinations by veterinary ophthalmologists of affected and unaffected dogs from eleven different countries. Genotyping using the Illumina high density canine single nucleotide variant genotyping chip was used to identify a candidate genetic region. There was a highly significant peak of association over chromosome 17, with a p-value of 2 × 10-13 Expression profiles and evolutionary conservation of candidate genes were assessed using public databases. Whole genome sequences of three dogs with glaucoma, three severely affected by goniodysgenesis and three unaffected dogs identified a missense variant in the olfactomedin like 3 (OLFML3) gene in all six affected animals. This was homozygous for the risk allele in all nine cases with glaucoma and 12 of 14 other severely affected animals. Of 67 reportedly unaffected animals, only one was homozygous for this variant (offspring of parents both with goniodysgenesis who were also homozygous for the variant). Analysis of pedigree information was consistent with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance for severe goniodysgenesis (potentially leading to glaucoma) in this breed. The identification of a candidate genetic region and putative causative variant will aid breeders to reduce the frequency of goniodysgenesis and the risk of glaucoma in the Border Collie population.

Original publication




Journal article


G3 (Bethesda, Md.)

Publication Date



The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies