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!
After having two puppies of her own, Timber the German Shepherd started nursing eight orphans at the shelter.
Whether you’re shopping for an artsy dog person or techie feline fanatic, Dr. Patty Khuly shares her favorite…
Don’t let the most common VPI claims on Christmas — upset stomachs and foreign body ingestion —…
Does your kitty bite and claw at your skin when she plays? Mikkel Becker explains how to redirect this predatory…
We talked to 122 veterinary professionals and got their take on which canines are the smartest of them all.
Three baby cougars who were found on their own in southwest Oregon are beginning their lives in two new zoos.
Although he is known as the African Barkless Dog, the Basenji makes plenty of noise by growling and yodeling.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.