Saturday , July 29 2017
Home / Lifestyle / Health / New dog skull find may help detect birth defects

New dog skull find may help detect birth defects

IF

Washington: A study of dog DNA has linked a genetic mutation to flat face shapes such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs.

The findings can help to detect birth defects that affect babies’ head development in the womb.

The results suggested that one variation found to disrupt the activity of a gene called SMOC2 is strongly linked to the length of the dog’s face.

Animals with the mutation had significantly flatter faces, a condition called brachycephaly.

The research reveals new insights into the genes that underpin skull formation in people and animals.

Lead researcher Jeffrey Schoenebeck said that the results shed light on the molecular nature of this type of skull form that is so common and popular among dogs.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute analysed DNA samples from 374 pet dogs of various pedigree and mixed breeds.

The dogs were being treated at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

All of the animals underwent body scans as part of their care, producing detailed three-dimensional images of the dogs’ heads.

These high-resolution images – called CT scans – enabled the researchers to take precise measurements of the shape of the dog’s skull.

By comparing the dogs’ genetic information with measurements of their skulls, the team was able to pinpoint DNA variations that are associated with different head shapes.

The results suggested that one variation found to disrupt the activity of a gene called SMOC2 was strongly linked to the length of the dog’s face.

Animals with the mutation had significantly flatter faces, a condition called brachycephaly.

Babies are sometimes born with brachycephaly too, though little is known about its causes.

The scientists further suggested that screening children for changes in the SMOC2 gene could help to diagnose the condition.

The study is published in the journal Current Biology.(ANI)