[A] research associate let each dog sniff a hot dog before demonstratively placing it inside a small plastic hamster cage on the floor and sealing it shut with black duct tape…a black Labrador named Ash, went into a tizzy, banging the cage around and not giving up until he pried the tape loose with his teeth and ate the hot dog.
As it turns out, Ash has more than just determination and a precise tooth grip. He also has a gene mutation linked to obesity….
Raffan’s findings, published last year in the journal Cell Metabolism, suggest that roughly one-fifth of Labrador retrievers have the mutation she identified in their POMC gene, and that it is clearly associated with increased appetite and obesity.
Upward of 10,000 living people worldwide are currently estimated to have mutations in POMC, although the effects of such mutations may vary. In addition, errors within a closely related gene, involved in the same brain pathway controlling metabolism, are estimated to afflict some 65,000 people in Britain, including as many as 6 percent of white individuals in that country who have been severely obese since childhood.
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