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  Home > VBS Faculty > James R. Mickelson

James R. Mickelson

Jim Mickelson

e-mail: micke001@umn.edu

295 Animal Science/Veterinary Medicine
1988 Fitch Avenue
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108


Mickelson Canine and Equine Genetics Laboratory 



B.S., University of Wisconsin—Madison
M.S., University of Wisconsin—Madison
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin—Madison
Post-Doctoral, University of Minnesota

Research Interests

The primary goal of Dr. Mickelson's research program is to identify the molecular bases of inherited neurologic and neuromuscular disorders in domestic animals. In order to achieve this goal, his group played a significant role in the development of genetic linkage, physical, and comparative maps of the canine and equine genomes, as well as the development of high throughput genetic analysis tools. Multidisciplinary studies, in which his group performed the genetic and molecular genetic analyses have identified the genetic basis for the overo coat color gene in Paint horses that also causes lethal white foal syndrome, a gene that causes a form of canine malignant hyperthermia, and the gene responsible for glycogen storage disease IV in Quarter Horses. More recently, a dominant mutation in the skeletal muscle glycogen synthase gene responsible for a glycogen storage disease known as polysaccharide storage myopathy in many breeds of horses has been identified. And most recently, a recessive mutation in the dynamin 1 gene responsible for synaptic vesicle endocytosis at synaptic junctions has been discovered that is responsible for the highly prevalent condition known as exercise-induced in Labrador Retrievers and related breeds.

Many of these heritable disorders are homologous to those found in humans and other species, while others appear to be novel diseases found only in that species. In addition to defining the basic molecular pathobiology, genetic tests to specifically diagnose the conditions are developed, and used to recommend breeding strategies to eliminate or control the spread of these genetic disorders. Future goals of the laboratory are to define functional bases for these mutations on the protein function and to determine the overall frequency of these mutations in the respective breeds. His laboratory is currently mapping the loci for epilepsy in a number of different breeds of dog, polyneuropathy in Leonbergers, recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis in Thoroughbred race horses, and a new form of polysaccharide storage myopathy in Quarter Horses. Dr Mickelson has been responsible for developing the equine SNP genotyping chip that enables large scale genotyping of these genetic markers in genetic case:control association studies to map genes for traits in horses. 


Selected Publications 


(For a comprehensive list of   Dr. Mickelson's recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.) 


McCue ME, Valberg SJ, Miller MB, Wade CM, DiMauro S, Akman HO, and Mickelson JR. (2008). Glycogen synthase (GYS1) mutation causes a novel skeletal muscle glycogenosis. Genomics 91, 458- 466.

Patterson EE, Minor KM, Tchernatynskaia AV, Taylor SM, Shelton GD, and Mickelson JR. (2008). Dynamin 1 (DNM1) mutation is highly associated with the syndrome of exercise-induced collapse in the Labrador retriever dog. Nature Genetics 40, 1235-1239.

Beggs AH, Bohm J, Snead E, Kozlowski M, Maurer M, Minor K, Childers MK, Taylor SM, Hitte C, Mickelson JR, Guo LT, Mizisin AP, Bug-Bello A, Tiret L, Laporte J and Shelton GD. (2010). MTM1 mutation Associated With X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy In Labrador Retrievers. Proc Nat Acad Sci 107, 14697–14702.

McCue ME, Bannasch DL, Petersen JL, Bailey E, Binns MM, Distl O, Guérin G, Hasegawa T, Hill EW, Leeb T, Lindgren G, Penedo, Røed KH, Ryder OA, Swinburne JE, Tozaki T, Valberg SJ, Vaudin M, Lindblad-Toh K, Wade CM, and Mickelson JR. (2012). A high density SNP Array for the domestic horse and extant perissodactyla: utility for association mapping, genetic diversity and phylogeny studies. PLoS Genetics, 2012 Jan;8(1):e1002451, Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Ekenstedt KJ, Patterson EE, Mickelson JR. (2012). Canine epilepsy genetics. Mamm Genome 23: 28-39.

Andersson LS, Larhammar M, Memic F, Wootz H, Schwochow D, Rubin CJ, Patra K, Arnason T, Wellbring L, Hjälm G, Imsland F, Petersen JL, McCue ME, Mickelson JR, Cothran G, Ahituv N, Roepstorff L, Mikko S, Vallstedt A, Lindgren L, Andersson L and Kullander K. (2012). Mutations in DMRT3 affect locomotion in horses and spinal circuit function in mice. Article selected for the cover. Nature 2012 Aug 30;488 (7413):642-6.

Fritz KL, McCue ME, Valberg SJ, Rendahl AK, Mickelson JR. (2012). Genetic mapping of recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis in a population of North American Thoroughbred horses. Animal Genetics Mar 23, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2012.02351.x. Epub 2012 Mar 23

Petersen JL, Mickelson JR, Rendahl AK, Valberg SJ, Andersson LS, Axelsson J, Bailey E, Bannasch D, Binns MM, Borges AS, Brama P, da Câmara Machado A, Capomaccio S, Cappelli K, Cothran EG, Distl O, Felicetti M, Fox-Clipsham L, Graves KT, Guérin G, Haase B, Hasegawa T, Hemmann K, Hill EW, Leeb T, Lindgren G, Lohi H, Lopes MS, McGivney BA, Mikko S, Orr N, Penedo MCT, Piercy RJ, Raekallio M, Rieder S, Røed KH, Swinburne J,Tozaki T, Vaudin M, Wade CM, McCue ME. (2013). Genome-wide analysis reveals selection for important traits in domestic horse breeds. PLoS Genet. 2013 Jan;9(1):e1003211. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003211. Epub 2013 Jan 17. PMID: 23349635

Petersen JL, Mickelson JR, Cothran EG, Andersson LS, Axelsson J, Bailey E, Bannasch D, Binns MM, Borges AS, Brama P, da Câmara Machado A, Distl O, Fox-Clipsham L, Graves KT, Guérin G, Haase B, Hasegawa T, Hemmann K, Hill EW, Leeb T, Lindgren G, Lohi H, Lopes MS, McGivney BA, Mikko S, Orr N, Penedo MCT, Piercy RJ, Raekallio M, Rieder S, Røed KH, Silvestrelli M, Swinburne J, Tozaki T, Vaudin M, Wade CM, McCue ME. (2013). Genetic diversity in the horse derived from whole genome SNP data. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54997. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054997. Epub 2013 Jan 30

Furrow E, Minor K, Taylor SM, Mickelson JR, and Patterson EE. (2013). Relationship between dynamin 1 mutation and phenotype in 109 Labrador retrievers with collapse during exercise. J AM Vet Med Assoc 242, 786 – 791.

Bruun CS, Jadelund KH, Berendt M, Jensen KB, Spodsberg EH, Gredal H, SheIton GD, Mickelson JR, Minor KM, Lohi H, Bjerkaas I, Stigen O, Espense A, Rohdin C, Edlund R, Ohlsson J, Cizinauskas S, Leifsson PS, Drogemuller C, Moe L, Cirera S, and Fredholm M. (2013). A Gly98Val Mutation in the N-Myc Downstream Regulated Gene 1 (NDRG1) in Alaskan Malamutes with Polyneuropathy. PLoS ONE 8(2): e54547. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054547.

Petersen JL, Mickelson JR, Cleary KD, and McCue ME. (2014). The American Quarter Horse: Population structure and relationship with the Thoroughbred. J Hered. 2014 Mar-Apr;105(2):148-62. doi: 10.1093/jhered/est079. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Ekenstedt KJ, Becker D, Shelton, DE, Minor KM, Leeb T, Patterson NE. Drogemuller C, and Mickelson JR. (2014). An ARHGEF10 deletion is highly associated with juvenile onset inherited polyneuropathy in Leonberger and Saint Bernard dogs. PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct 2;10(10):e1004635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004635. eCollection 2014 Oct..

Petersen JL, Valberg SJ, Mickelson JR and McCue ME (2014). Haplotype diversity in the equine myostatin gene with focus on variants associated with race distance propensity and muscle fiber type proportions. Anim Genet. 2014 Dec;45(6):827-35. doi: 10.1111/age.12205. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

Current Funding

“Canine Epilepsy: inheritance, genes, and linkage test”; Canine Health Foundation

“Genetic basis of polyneuropathy in Leonberger dogs”; Canine Health Foundation and Leonberger Health Foundation

“Genetic analysis of glycogen storage disorders in Quarter Horses”; American Quarter Horse Association

“Genetic basis for polyneuropathy in Leonberger dogs”

Honors and Awards 

College of Veterinary Medicine Collegiality Award, 1997, 1998.

Molecular Veterinary Biosciences Graduate Program Teaching Award, 2001.


Pfizer Research Excellence Award, 2004 and 2012.




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