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What dog lovers get right and wrong about canine genetics

Dog lovers talk a big game when it comes to genetics. Who hasn’t heard someone claim to know which breeds reside within a beloved mutt simply by appearance? And who hasn’t heard claims about a dog’s underlying “nature” even though geneticists acknowledge nature and nurture work together?

Here’s what [Jessica] Hekman, the dog geneticist, wishes dog lovers knew about genetics:

What do dog lovers seem to get wrong about dog genetics? “Thinking that genetics are destiny — that if a problem is ‘genetic,’ it can’t be changed. Sometimes that’s true, but very rarely in the case of behavior problems. A dog’s personality is inextricably made up both of genetics and experience.”

“What do you wish purebred dog owners knew about dog genetics? “Inbreeding is real and is a serious problem in many, if not most, pure breeds.”

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“I would love to see dog owners draw a line in the sand and insist on dogs with muzzles long enough to let them breathe normally, or dogs who are not born with a 60% chance of developing cancer at some point in their lives due to their breed.”

“I’d love more dog lovers to become aware of the problems with how we breed dogs — how even the most responsible breeders breed dogs! This year, it is time for change.”

Read full, original post: What a Dog Geneticist Wants You to Know about Dog Genetics

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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