STATES CHRONICLE – There are many dog breeds which display significant differences, ranging from the Great Dane which weighs 80 kilos to the small poodle of just 1 kilogram. A new study which developed a detailed genetic analysis indicated how these dog breeds reached to develop while showing which ones are related. The new analysis also unveiled why some breeds are predisposed to certain illnesses.
Researchers established that there are 350 dog breeds
Elinor Karlsson, a computational biologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, argued that by using genetics, scientists can indicate what processes happened there while these dog breeds were still evolving. Somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000 when people started domesticating animals, they chose dogs to be their best friends.
They used dogs for cuddling, for their meat and fur, for war or for simply becoming good companions. Nowadays, we count 350 dog breeds, each having its own characteristics and traits. Many of these breeds appeared during the last 200 years. Previous studies have detailed the genetics of some of these breeds. Nevertheless, there was no study showing exactly how some dog breeds came into being today.
They grouped together all the breeds, separating them into 23 clades
Karlsson argues that the period between domestication and present day seems to be a mystery. Heidi Parker and Elaine Ostrander, who are geneticists at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, together with their colleagues spent about 20 years going to dog shows to build a study. They received help from many other researchers around the world to gather DNA samples.
They confessed that in some cases they used information which was already collected. Their main interest was to reveal how all the dog breeds in the world were developed. Up to this point, researchers collected approximately 1346 samples from dogs representing 161 breeds. They compared the difference on the genome of each dog and built a family tree.
Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, stated that the purpose of this investigation is incredible, making a tour in a search for how all these breeds evolved. Scientists grouped together all the breeds in 23 clades. The new study was published in Cell Reports on April 25. These clades brought together many similar traits.
For instance, Boston terriers, bulldogs and boxers are part of one clade, while collies, corgis ad sheepdogs are part of another group. Researchers stated that this is just the first step of the research and they need to continue their study.
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