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« Ohio HB 14 heard by the Senate tomorrow -- and possible vote. | Main | Keeping animals out of shelters, and increasing Return To Owners »

January 18, 2012

Comments

Dianne R.

There was a companion piece on nat geo tv that I caught by accident (after watching Cesar on nat geo wild). It was fascinating. It also included some tests comparing dogs with wolves raised and socialized by people; eg very tame. Dogs look to human for cues; wolves do not. Very interesting to me as dogs and wolves have the same mitochondrial dna - so wolves are probably more like a "breed" of dog rather than a separate species. Also the slippery genome also exists in wolves, coyotes, and foxes. Dogs and wolves and coyotes can breed and produce fertile offspring. In fact, one reason the eastern grey wolf is smaller than its western counter part is interbreeding with coyotes. And if you've ever taken a road trip in Alaska you've seen all the signs for wolf-hybrid puppies.

Brent

Interesting Dianne. Recently, Nat Geo the magazine ran an article about the Silver Foxes study in Russia. I wrote about it here:

http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/04/the-science-of-domesticating-foxes-what-it-may-tell-us-about-genetics-in-dogs.html

One thing I thought was really interesting was that in foxes (and in dogs), the thing that actually makes them domesticated is a genetic defect that makes them more trusting than they naturally would be. Obviously this is something that wouldn't do well in the wild (good way to get killed) but would be desired in an artificial selection setting.

Central Ohio Dog Blog

So can we also read this to mean that it doesn't take many cross-breedings to get a dog that looks substantially different than its ancestor? I imagine that with only 200 gene sequences to choose from, even two generations out may look starkly different than its grandparent.

I ask this not only because I think it's silly when people try to guess a dog's breed from its look, but also because it has pretty stark ramifications in places (like Ohio) where dogs live or die depending on how much they resemble certain "breeds."

CristyF

I love National Geographic Magazine, I read it online. :)

Dog genetics is fascinating. I don't put much stock in those DNA tests to determine breed though, I know somebody who's pointer mix came back as being mostly maltese.

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