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Tag: retrogene

Dwarfism gene found in short-legged dogs


The same gene that causes some breeds of dogs to have short, stubby legs might also cause dwarfism in people, a new study says.

Scientists think this gene — called a retrogene — controls certain growth receptors. By comparing breeds like basset hounds, corgis and dachsunds to longer-legged breeds,  scientists isolated the gene that stunted growth in dogs, according to a paper in the new issue of the journal Science.

This gene hasn’t “been associated with dwarfism in the past,” says Heidi Parker, first author of the study, so it “opens up a new avenue, a new place to look,” for the cause of some types in humans

Parker, of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., compared the genomes of 95 short-legged dogs from eight breeds with the genomes of 702 dogs from 64 breeds without the trait. Then, in a more detailed analysis, the researchers pinpointed an extra stretch of DNA on chromosome 18 in every dog from the eight short-legged breeds, but in none of 204 control dogs they examined, according to an article in Science News.

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