Heritability and genomic architecture of episodic exercise-induced collapse in border collies

Elaine M. Norton, Katie M Minor, Susan M. Taylor, Molly E. McCue, James R. Mickelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An episodic nervous system disorder triggered by strenuous exercise, termed border collie collapse (BCC), exists in border collies and related breeds. The genetic basis of BCC is unknown but is believed to be a complex genetic disorder. Our goal was to estimate the heritability (h2SNP) of BCC, define its underlying genetic architecture, and identify associated genomic loci using dense whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping data. Genotype data were obtained for ~440,000 SNPs from 343 border collies (168 BCC cases and 175 controls). h2SNP was calculated to be 49–61% depending on the estimated BCC prevalence. A total of 2407 SNPs across the genome accounted for nearly all the h2SNP of BCC, with an estimated 2003 SNPs of small effect, 349 SNPs of moderate effect, and 56 SNPs of large effect. Genome-wide association analyses identified significantly associated loci on chromosomes 1, 6, 11, 20, and 28, which accounted for ~5% of the total BCC h2SNP. We conclude that BCC is a moderately-to highly-heritable complex polygenetic disease resulting from contributions from hundreds to thousands of genetic variants with variable effect sizes. Understanding how much the BCC phenotype is determined by genetics and whether major gene mutations are likely to exist inform veterinarians and working/stock dog communities of the true nature of this condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1927
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by AKC Canine Health Foundation grant 2575 (“Genetic Basis of Exercise-Induced Collapse in Border Collie Related Breeds”) to the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).


  • Ataxia
  • Bayesian
  • Border collie collapse
  • Episodic collapse
  • Genome-wide association analysis
  • Mixed linear model
  • SNP array genotype data


Dive into the research topics of 'Heritability and genomic architecture of episodic exercise-induced collapse in border collies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this