Friday, July 17, 2009
Why Dachshunds Are Short
Thanks to 'Willow' and 'Cocoa,' as well as Nolen Clark for sending in links to reports of an interesting new study which explains why Dachshunds have short stubby legs. Here is an excerpt from Reuters:
An extra gene may explain why dachshunds, corgis and basset hounds have short, stubby legs, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a finding that may also lend new clues about human dwarfism.
They said while most dogs have only one copy of a growth-related gene, nearly 20 different breeds of short-legged dogs have a second, slightly altered copy of the gene called fibroblast growth factor 4 or FGF4.
This so-called retrogene appears to be copy of a wolf gene that got spliced back into the dog genome some time after modern dog breeds diverged from wolves.
The trait affects only the legs, unlike the small-all-over effect seen in miniature or toy breeds, such as poodles.
Researchers should start looking in humans to see if the FGF4 gene plays a role in a form of dwarfism called hypochondroplasia, which represents about one-third of the unexplained cases of dwarfism in humans.
Read even more at The American Institute of Physics. Now, who can explain why we're long?
Photo source: The Daily Mail
Have a fantastic Friday.