An extra gene may explain why dachshunds, corgis and basset hounds have short, stubby legs, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a finding that may also lend new clues about human dwarfism.
They said while most dogs have only one copy of a growth-related gene, nearly 20 different breeds of short-legged dogs have a second, slightly altered copy of the gene called fibroblast growth factor 4 or FGF4.
This so-called retrogene appears to be copy of a wolf gene that got spliced back into the dog genome some time after modern dog breeds diverged from wolves.
“We were surprised to find that just one retrogene inserted at one point during the evolution of a species could yield such a dramatic physical trait,” Heidi Parker of the National Human Genome Research Institute, whose study appears in the journal Science, said in a statement.
via Spliced-in gene lays dogs low | Oddly Enough | STV News.