Curly haired dogs

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Since I see p-ter hasn’t posted on this, in Science, Coat Variation in the Domestic Dog Is Governed by Variants in Three Genes:

Coat color and type are essential characteristics of domestic dog breeds. While the genetic basis of coat color has been well characterized, relatively little is known about the genes influencing coat growth pattern, length, and curl. We performed genome-wide association studies of more than 1000 dogs from 80 domestic breeds to identify genes associated with canine fur phenotypes. Taking advantage of both inter- and intrabreed variability, we identified distinct mutations in three genes, RSPO2, FGF5, and KRT71 (encoding R-spondin-2, fibroblast growth factor-5 and keratin-71, respectively), which together account for the majority of coat phenotypes in purebred dogs in the United States. This work illustrates that an array of varied and seemingly complex phenotypes can be reduced to the combinatorial effects of only a few genes.

See ScienceDaily for summary. This will help us cure cancer! OK, probably not, but hopefully perhaps we might get toward understanding hair form beyond EDAR.

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One Comments

  1. Interesting. So coat-type is controlled by three genes? Just from the info in the article, it’s clear there must be at least a fourth gene that hasn’t been identified yet.  
    If the beagle and basset breeds are examples of dogs who carry all three wild-type (wolf form) genes for coat-type… well, nobody would ever confuse either of those breeds with having wolf fur, would they? Actually, I’d feel comfortable going out on a limb and saying that beagle fur and wolf fur are vastly different and could never be confused. Not ever. Not if you were blind. Obviously then, if bassets and beagles have these three genes in common with a wolf, and yet there is a difference, then those three genes can’t be the whole story.