Click here to learn more.
Some are short, and some are tall. Some are wrinkled, while others have sleek coats. There's no disputing that there is a wide variety of
dog breeds out there, but new research reveals that relatively few genes actually determine a canine’s appearance.
“The difference between the Dachshund's diminutive body and the Rottweiler's massive one hangs on the sequence of a single gene,” writes Evan Ratliff in the current issue of National Geographic magazine.
Researchers from Cornell University, UCLA and the National Institutes of Health examined DNA from more than 900 dogs — including their wild cousins, gray wolves and coyotes — in a project called CanMap.
Their findings: Only about 50 different genes control dozens of characteristics in canines, such as height, body size, fur type, nose shape and coloring. By comparison. While 50 may seem to be a lot, humans are vastly more genetically complicated. It takes hundreds of genes just to determine a person’s height.
According to the article, the reason for the relative simplicity behind the genetic makeup of man’s best friend is likely wrapped up in how the dog’s evolutionary history has been altered by humans.
Plus: Read a related story about why the Bulldog breed is in serious trouble.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
Researchers found that dogs became
aggressive and pushy when their owners
showed interest in a plush toy dog.
Our editors' favorite books this summer
include Misty of Chincoteague and the
buzzed-about new novel The Bees.
Is it true that black pets are less likely to
be adopted? We asked the ASPCA to
help us get to the bottom of this…
Want to have a fun and relaxing vacation
this summer? Make sure you follow the
advice from these travel-savvy canines.
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus breaks down the
similarities and differences in the ways
cancer can affect humans and animals.
The Kooikerhondje is a fun-loving and
intelligent red and white Dutch retriever
who was bred to lure ducks into a…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.