Novel genetic variant associated with globoid cell leukodystrophy in a family of mixed breed dogs

Samantha Hammack, Devon Wallis Hague, Miranda D. Vieson, Elizabeth Esdaile, Shayne S. Hughes, Rebecca R. Bellone, Annette M. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GCL) is a fatal autosomal recessive disease caused by variants in the galactosylceramidase (GALC) gene. Two dog breed-specific variants are reported. Objectives: Characterize the putatively causative GALC variant for GCL in a family of dogs and determine population allele frequency. Animals: Four related mixed-breed puppies with signs of neurologic disease were evaluated. Subsequently, 33 related dogs were tested for genetic markers for parentage and the identified GALC variant. Additional GALC genotyping was performed on 278 banked samples from various breeds. Methods: The 4 affected puppies had neurological exams and necropsies. DNA was isolated from blood samples. Variants in GALC were identified via Sanger sequencing. Parentage testing was performed using short tandem repeat markers. Prevalence of the GALC variant of interest was investigated in other breeds. Results: GCL was confirmed histopathologically. A novel missense variant in GALC (NC_006590.4:g.58893972G>A) was homozygous in all affected animals (n = 4). A recessive mode of inheritance was confirmed by parentage testing as was variant linkage with the phenotype (LOD = 3.36). Among the related dogs (n = 33), 3 dogs were homozygous and 7 heterozygous. The variant allele was not detected in screening 278 dogs from 5 breeds. The novel variant is either unique to this family or has an extremely low allele frequency in the general population. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: A novel GALC variant was identified that likely explains GCL in this cohort. The identification of multiple causal variants for GCL in dogs is consistent with findings in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1710-1715
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • GALC
  • Krabbe disease
  • canine
  • congenital disease
  • neurologic disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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