Expanded Repeat in Canine Epilepsy

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Science  07 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5706, pp. 81
DOI: 10.1126/science.1102832

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Epilepsy afflicts 1% of humans and 5% of dogs. We report a canine epilepsy mutation and evidence for the existence of repeat-expansion disease outside humans. A canid-specific unstable dodecamer repeat in the Epm2b (Nhlrc1) gene recurrently expands, causing a fatal epilepsy and contributing to the high incidence of canine epilepsy. Tracing the repeat origins revealed two successive events, starting 50 million years ago, unique to canid evolution. A genetic test, presented here, will allow carrier and presymptomatic diagnosis and disease eradication. Clinicopathologic characterization establishes affected animals as a model for Lafora disease, the most severe teenage-onset human epilepsy.

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