The German Shepherd is one of the most widespread breeds of dogs.
Read aloud American researchers have located in the genome of dogs, the gene sections that make up the breed of pets. The size of a dog is determined for example by genes at six locations in the genome. Also on genes for character traits and behaviors such as the ability to herding sheep or trainability have found the researchers around Paul Jones from the veterinary division of the food company Mars in Leicestershire clues. The findings are important for breeding research, dog nutrition and veterinary medicine. So far, little was known about which genes in the dog heritage are responsible for the external characteristics or the behavior of a dog breed. Only about 15, 000 years ago, humans domesticated the dogs as descendants of wolves and further bred them, for example, to a German shepherd or hunting dog. Experts today assume that there are around 350 different breeds of dogs.

The researchers around Paul Jones examined 13, 000 genotypes, the dog owners of a DNA database of the veterinary division of Mars had made available. The genotype comes from blood or saliva samples of the dogs. In total, 148 dog breeds could be compared. The researchers found genome sections that determine the physical appearance and behavior of the dogs.

For example, six gene segments distributed across five chromosomes regulate growth and size. Four sections determine how old a dog breed can become. In addition, the scientists found clues as to where in the genome certain behaviors of a hunting dog or a shepherd dog can be found in the genetic code. The researchers now want to further refine their technique to learn even more about the temperament, trainability and adaptability of a race to humans. With this information, future dog owners could find out which animal best suits their lifestyle, Jones explains.

Paul Jones (Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition) et al .: Genetics, Vol. 179, p. 1033 ddp / science.de? Martin Schäfer advertisement

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