Wiener dog’s stubby legs may hold clue to human dwarfism and evolutionJuly 25th, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, July 25 (ANI): A new research has determined that the wiener dog’s stubby little legs hold a clue to both human dwarfism and evolution as a whole.
The key is in a newly identified gene that makes short-legged dogs, like the dachshund, so short, according to the research.
According to a report in National Geographic News, geneticist Heidi Parker and colleagues at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Maryland compared 76 different dog breeds-both short and tall-looking for genetic differences that could be tied to leg length.
They found one-a mutation of a single gene, which seems to be responsible for the majority of short-legged dogs’ stumpiness.
The mutation could have arisen as far back as 30,000 years ago. It’s not clear how big a role humans, through breeding, had on the mutation’s spread.
Of 20 ground-hugging breeds, 19 had the newfound gene-suggesting that most short-legged dogs, from corgis to basset hounds, share a common ancestor, according to Parker.
“We think of physical traits as being the product of little genetic changes built up over time, but here we could look at it as one major change that’s captured and held on to,” she said.
“There may just be a small number of major genetic changes that create all the different shapes and sizes of dogs,” she added.
The genetic revelation doesn’t apply just to dogs.
Parker said that other species, including humans, probably also carry single mutations that have big physical consequences.
In fact, humans have their own version of the gene that Parker connected to short legs in dogs: fibroblast growth factor 4 (fgf4).
Fgf4 hasn’t been linked to short limbs in humans, at least not yet.
About two-thirds of cases of Hypochondroplasia, a type of human dwarfism, are instead related to a different gene: fgf3.
But “at least a third of the cases have no known genetic cause,” Parker said. “Perhaps, the new dog-related fgf4 findings could give researchers a new route to look for,” she added. (ANI)
- Why dachshunds, corgis have stubby legs - Jul 17, 2009
- Evolutionary mis-step created short-legged dogs - Jul 17, 2009
- Why Obama's pet pooch has curly hair - Aug 28, 2009
- Scientists complete whole-exome sequencing of skin cancer - Apr 16, 2011
- Gene discovery could shed light on foetal, childhood growth retardation - Mar 06, 2011
- Gene that can influence a person's risk for developing epilepsy identified - Apr 05, 2011
- For first time ever, study proves common genetic roots for autism, epilepsy - Apr 09, 2011
- Full genetic blueprint of blood cancer offers new insights - Mar 24, 2011
- Gene causing neurodegenerative disease in dogs 'also generates illness in humans' - Aug 25, 2010
- Scientists discover gene linked to clear vision - Dec 20, 2011
- GM crops no longer safe from pests - Jun 21, 2012
- Black wolves coat coloration is a gift from dogs - Feb 06, 2009
- Shar-pei's wrinkled appearance explained - Jan 13, 2010
- Potential treatment target for congenital heart disease identified - Feb 22, 2011
- Genetic sequencing alone 'is not enough' to understand human disease - Jan 24, 2011
Tags: basset hounds, common ancestor, different dog breeds, different shapes, dwarfism, genetic cause, genetic changes, human genome research, human genome research institute, leg length, national geographic news, national human genome research institute, physical consequences, physical traits, role humans, shapes and sizes, short legged dogs, short legs, stubby legs, wiener dog