Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inactivates catecholamines and catechol-containing drugs such as L-DOPA. The common genetic polymorphism Val158Met in the human COMT gene is suspected to be associated with "persistence" or risk for schizophrenia. In this study, we attempted to identify the canine COMT gene fragment and to find a similar polymorphism and to reveal its genetic distribution among five representative canine breeds. We found that the amplified gene consisted of 663 bp nucleotides and was 84% homologous with the human COMT gene. The single nucleotide polymorphisms, guanine adenine substitution, were observed at the 39th, 216th and 482nd nucleotides. From the genotyping of the 216th polymorphism among 266 dogs by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method with restriction enzyme EagI, and that of the 482nd polymorphism with restriction enzyme SfcI, we found inter-breed variations of genotypes as well as of allelic frequencies for both of these polymorphic regions. These results suggest that the identified polymorphisms will be useful tools in elucidating the genetic background of canine behavioral traits.
2004 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science