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Research Paper Summary: Intersexuality in a family of Kerry Blue Terriers


© 2015

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from .

Reference: Williamson JH. 1979. Intersexuality in a family of Kerry Blue terriers. Journal of Heredity 70: 138-139.

At the time this peer-reviewed, scientific paper was written, Dr. JH Williamson was Professor of Biology at the University of Calgary, Canada. This summary is also published in the Winter 2003 edition of Kerry Blue Notes (Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Canada).

An 8 week old Kerry Blue Terrier puppy was submitted to Prof. Williamson for examination. It was one of three hermaphroditic pups produced by a breeder in three separate litters. This puppy was a female which at 7 weeks of age exhibited changes in the voice (cracking) and a clitoral penis extending 5 mm between the labia. The puppy was spayed and the organs closely examined. The two gonads had the general appearance of ovaries; however, each had both an oviduct and a sperm duct. When they were cross-sectioned and observed microscopically, the tissues resembled that of testes. Karyotyping indicated the chromosomal sex was XX (female).

In the two other cases, both pups had oviducts but not sperm ducts. One of these pups (diagnosed at 12 weeks) had testes. The other pup (diagnosed at 4 months) had no data provided on the gonads. There was no karyotype data available on either pup.

A genetic pedigree was constructed for the affected family. The family had relatively intense inbreeding. Two of the affected dogs were half-siblings, and all of the affected animals were descendants of a particularly popular stud dog. The data was consistent with a recessive mode of inheritance. An individual from the USKBTC provided pedigrees from two additional affected Kerries. Both of these cases also traced back to a popular sire which was different from the popular stud of the current case. However, these two studs were distantly related. The author notes that careful selection of breeding stock could rid the breed of this disorder.

The description of the disorder indicates that it is the disorder currently known as XX sex reversal. Dr. Vicki Meyers-Wallen is studying this disorder in dogs with the goal of developing a molecular genetic test and is very interested in hearing from owners of affected Kerries. Her contact information is:

V.N. Meyers-Wallen, VMD, PhD
Dept. of Biomedical Sciences
J.A. Baker Institute for Animal Health
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Hungerford Hill Rd
Ithaca NY 14853 USA
Tel. & Fax: 607 256-5683

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