I can’t help but blog about this, since Dog DNA seems to be such a popular dinner party topic. According to a study to be published tomorrow in Science, the genetic differences between dogs boils down to very little. In fact, just one gene, a “tiny bit of DNA that suppresses the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) gene controls dogs’ size. (Try telling my stubborn giant dog that he’s just one gene away from a pug.)
The study’s lead author, Elaine A. Ostrander, is chief of cancer genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Why is this gene exciting to her? Humans have the same gene suppressor, which is suspected of being involved in human dwarfism. Because the IGF-1 controls growth, it will further cancer research.
This isn’t the first time that dog genomic research has helped out humans, and no doubt it won’t be the last. Our trusted companions from hearth and home to laboratory bench….