Another public release of research this week. This one from the Genetics Society of America about an article entitled ‘The Genetics of Canine Skull Shape Variation.’ Published in the February issue of Genetics, researchers review progress in defining genes and pathways that determine dog skull shape and development.
The researchers believe that the results are useful to humans because of the genetic expression of the features is likely to be similar process in humans as in dogs.
Skull shape is a complex trait, involving multiple genes and their interactions. Thanks to standardized canine breeding, which documents more than 400 breeds worldwide, and their distinct morphological features, researchers can disentangle traits such as skull shape, which in many breeds is a breed-defining variation.
Researchers are beginning to identify which genes cause a Bulldog or a Pug to have short pushed-in faces, or brachycephaly, and those that cause Salukis or collies to have narrow, elongated snouts, or dolichocephaly.