Apr
10
2007

Where has my little dog gone?

Let me be your little dog till your big dog comes: Science unlocks the genetic secrets of dog size.
Let me be your little dog till your big dog comes: Science unlocks the genetic secrets of dog size.Courtesy Rollinho

Every dog on the planet, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the largest Great Dane, is a member of the same species. Yet they vary in size tremendously – more so than any other mammal. Scientists have finally figured out why.

A researcher at the University of Utah has discovered a tiny piece of DNA in the dog genome that shuts off the production of growth hormones. It affects a gene called IGF-1, which also exists in humans. For us, it not only regulates growth, but also plays a role in cancer and some bone disease. Learning how this gene works in dogs can be a first step towards treating these diseases in humans.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

Okay this seems like it could have some real research benefits, but on the other hand does this mean that we will see perpetually cute small dogs in the future? Will you be able to get a genetically altered puppy that stays a puppy? That would be sick (in the negative way). Or am I missing the point here?

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 10:58am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I didn't see anything in the article to indicate that anyone was going to use this genetic information to breed small dogs, though I suppose that is a possibility. However, dog breeders have already achieved small sizes through more conventional means -- no need to go in for any fancy, hi-tech gene-splicin' stuff. I think it was more an issue of figuring out why dogs come in such a variety of sizes. And, now that we know, this knowledge may have some implications for human growth diseases.

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 12:00pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Okay that makes more sense. Thanks for tunneling through my denseness.

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 1:24pm
Lizzy's picture
Lizzy says:

I would love to have a dog like that I would spoil it rotten with all the Love I have for dogs

posted on Sat, 04/14/2007 - 7:41pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I'm more worried about little tiny "cute" humans running around. Or maybe giant ones...

posted on Mon, 04/16/2007 - 7:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This puppy is so cute! If it was for sale I would buy the little fella or fellow!!!

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 9:33am

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