New Delhi: Genetic research have proved the link between genetic signals in husky dogs.
These genetic codes make thest dogs eyes blue.
A dog DNA startup company called Embark, based out of Boston, MA and Ithaca,
NY, appears to have finally solved the mystery as to why huskies sport their beautiful blue eyes.
The study is the first consumer genomics study ever conducted in a non-human
model, as well as the largest canine genome-wide association study to date.
The key, it turns out, lies in the dogs’ 18th chromosome.
A duplication on chromosome 18, near the ALX4 gene, was found to be
strongly associated with blue eye color.
The ALX4 gene plays an important role in mammalian eye development,
so this association is not entirely out of left field.
And interestingly, the study also found this same genetic quirk in non-merle
Australian Shepards, which also tend to have blue eyes.
Genetic research included 6070 dogs data
This flies in the face of how eye color is usually thought to be determined in dogs.
For instance, two genetic variants are known to underlie blue eye color in
many dogs, but scientists have long known that these variants do not
explain the blue eyes of huskies, thus the mystery.
In fact, even though we’re seemingly in a genomic scientific age, the genetic
underpinnings of many traits in non-human animals are still largely
unknown, even for humans’ best friends.
Embark aims to change that. For the study, which was performed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, researchers used a diverse panel of 6,070 genetically tested dogs, with owners that contributed phenotype data– physical traits of the dogs– via web-based surveys and photo uploads.
A comprehensive, consumer-driven of this size is largely unprecedented.