Skip to comments.Only 40 Genes Separate Your Pet Dog From A Wolf
Posted on 11/21/2005 6:18:45 PM PST by blam
Only 40 genes separate your pet dog from a wolf
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
The difference between an obedient, friendly dog and a big bad wolf could be down to as few as 40 genes, according to a study into tameness.
The research also found that to adapt to a life on the farm or in the home takes many more changes in gene activity than that required to love humans.
A Swedish team compared two groups of farm-raised silver foxes in Siberia, one where for 40 generations the foxes have been selected for their friendly nature, while the other was raised in the farm but not selected for tameness. The comparison was reported yesterday in the journal Current Biology by Dr Elena Jazin and colleagues at Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the Norwegian University of Life Science.
In the tame foxes, they found surprisingly limited changes in gene activity in the brain compared with the non-selected silver foxes. Foxes have about 25,000 genes.
When compared with wild foxes both groups had 3,000 differences. There were a similar number of differences with dogs revealing that being friendly to humans takes far fewer genetic changes than being domesticated.
Princess looks like my neighbor's dog. He told me the other day that she was in love with my Yellow Lab. He acted suprised that I didn't know. LOL
One of the things I love most about dogs is that they constantly want to be touching...they're just peaceful to be with.
She has a trace of Shepherd in her. It shows up in her coat a bit, but not her coloration.
Her coat pattern is consistent with a German Sheperd, even though she has Husky coloration and mannerisms.....
Great dog though. My wife picked her up when I was in Iraq and she really helped my wife out.
It's the one to her left that'll kick your butt as soon as look at you!
Nice dogs, Mike.
What? A dark three leg-ed fox? (Not fair and balanced?)
My black half-Dane yard dog has those yellow eyes...
Yup. Love my dogs. There was an article some time back on FR that stated that dog owners have less heart problems. Doc says I have a strong heart...my vet says I have a soft heart, lol.
I believe it, when my 4 pound guard dog was howling in his sleep, the first thing I though was that there must only be 40 genes separating my dog from a wolf.
I wish I knew how to post a pic. My dog (Cacasian Ovcharka) was bred to kill wolves. I bet there's not much genetic difference between him and them.
I don't care how many jeans you put on a fuffy little rat dog it is not going to look like a wolf.
I have one McKenzie River husky and one Siberian Husky/Malamute husky. Both are love dogs. Even our departed purebred Malamute did not fit the reputation of Malamutes. He was gentle, loving and kind to everyone from adults to children. It was other male dogs he had a vengence for. Just goes to show that so much of what a dog becomes is in the puppy rearing, not the "breed". Just like kids. :)
I just gave my two granddaughters a Bichon Frise puppy, 4 months old. She came from a local lady who just breeds once a year, then is very picky about who she sells to...the puppy was housebroken when I got him, the girls take him outside on the leash and say, "Go Potty!" and he does...
Gentlest, funniest little puppy! I swear, I'm going to get a picture of him to put up here...
I love dog threads...
Say, have you seen this great thread? ;-D
My dog would like to eat it's body weight in chicken for dinner and is barely tall enough to clear my ankles.
The meanest, most wolfish dog I ever had was a toy poodle.
She'd attack a damn herd of elephants if she thought they might hurt me.
She died in 2001. Now I have a (bigger) mid-sized dog, and she's scared of her own shadow.
The "family tree" of dogs indicates that all descend from the wolf and the Samoyed is one of four breeds in the first generation.
Your Huskie is probably one of the four.
Dogs will do anything to please their masters. Check out this story:
MOVILLE, Iowa -- Deep in the tall, wild grasses, Deuce bounds along, hot on the scent of an unseen pheasant.
The sea of grass parts in the late afternoon sunshine as the yellow Labrador, nose to the ground, searches for game.
"Is there a bird in here, Deuce?" his owner, Pat Phipps, calls out.
Excited by the encouragement, Deuce quickens his pace. The rustling through the brush gets louder. The trail of Deuce's hunt winds through the grass and abruptly stops as he crashes headfirst into a small tree he never saw. He changes directions and follows Phipps' voice into a clearing.
"Good work, Deuce boy. You're working hard today," Phipps says, bending over, patting his dog's heaving side.
Panting happily, his big pink tongue swinging from his open mouth, Deuce stares off into the distance. A pale green reflection dims his eyes, revealing the reason for the mishap with the tree.
Deuce is blind.
But once he's seeking scents along the rolling hills of Phipps' hunting spot, Deuce's nose takes over for his eyes. He's doing what he was born to do.
"I think he probably does take more abrasions on his face because he can't see stuff," Phipps said. "But you can't not take him (hunting)."
Phipps probably couldn't get away with it if he tried.
Walking toward the kennel in the back yard of his Moville home, Phipps yells to Deuce and Axle, his other yellow Lab, "How we doin'? You ready to go out and get some birds?"
Deuce and Axle spring to their feet, ears at attention, bodies wiggling eagerly, tails flapping furiously from side to side. With a couple yelps, they dash out the kennel door and race around the yard. Nearly tripping Phipps several times, they accompany him to his Suburban in the driveway. Deuce bumps into the rear fender, then follows Axle to the open back door and jumps inside.
Phipps isn't sure why his 9-year-old dog lost his sight. He suspects it had something to do with the mouse poison Deuce got into as a puppy. After a close call with death, Deuce fully recovered and became an accomplished hunting dog.
But about two years ago, Phipps noticed Deuce was bumping into things in the yard with increasing frequency. It was obvious the dog was losing his sight. Phipps thinks Deuce might be able to see a little, but guesses he's almost 100 percent blind.
But Deuce hasn't lost any of the instincts he perfected when he had his eyesight.
"He's probably a better hunter now than when he could see. He uses his nose now," said Jay Phipps, Pat's son.
It's a nose that works extremely well. On a recent hunt, Pat Phipps and six other hunters hadn't fired a single shot before Deuce came back from the tall grass, a rooster pheasant in his mouth.
"My nephew was with us and he began laughing. He said there were seven guys who could see out here and the first pheasant is caught by the blind dog," Phipps said, laughing.
Because of Deuce's condition, Phipps has adjusted his hunting patterns. He keeps Deuce in the middle of the field, away from ditches and ravines that he could fall into. They avoid fences and groves of trees. Other than that, stay out of the way. Nothing gets between Deuce and a scent.
"He'll take you out, he gets going," Phipps said.
On this day, Deuce's nose leads him to several hen pheasants, but no roosters. Phipps and his son walk back to the Suburban with only one rooster that Axle flushed out. A tired Deuce trots next to Phipps and leaps into the back of the vehicle for the ride home.
He'll be asleep before they get back to town, Jay Phipps says.
No doubt seeing pheasants in his dreams.
Nick Hytrek can be reached at 712-293-4226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.