A study of dog DNA has revealed a genetic mutation linked to flat face shapes, such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs.

pug

The research reveals insights into the genes that underpin skull formation in humans and animals.

Shed light

Scientists say their findings also shed light on the causes of birth defects that affect babies’ head development in the womb.

Researchers at The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute analysed DNA samples from 374 pedigree and mixed breed dogs being treated at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

All of the animals underwent body scans as part of their care, producing detailed 3D images of the dogs’ heads. These high-resolution images enabled the researchers to take precise measurements of the shape of the dog’s skull.

Pinpoint variations

By comparing the dogs’ genetic information with measurements of their skulls, the team was able to pinpoint DNA variations associated with different head shapes.

One variation – found to disrupt the activity of a gene called SMOC2 – was strongly linked to the length of the dog’s face. Animals with the mutation had significantly flatter faces, a condition called brachycephaly.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

Cytopoint (lokivetmab) from Zoetis is a new treatment for the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis in dogs, including itch and inflammation.

3 mins

The leg of a two-year-old Münsterländer dog has been saved from amputation using medical technology funded by Sir Bobby Charlton’s landmine charity, Find A Better Way.

6 mins

Gerardo Poli explains how the SNAP cortisol test is useful in helping assess for hypoadrenocorticism, but urges caution for hyperadrenocorticism diagnosis.

6 mins

A north-east veterinary practice has achieved the Gold Standard Cat Friendly Clinic award from International Cat Care.

3 mins

Victoria Brown explains steps taken in the case of a canine patient that presented with nocturia and urinary incontinence.

17 mins

Veterinary courses can now be considered as “long course” degrees in England, therefore increasing the loan available to students.

6 mins