Chocolate labs plagued by consumer-driven ‘genetic bottleneck’

chocolate lab
Image credit: Pippa Mattinson

New research shows that chocolate Labrador retrievers are more likely to experience health problems and die younger compared to their black and yellow canine compatriots. A likely reason, say scientists, is a tightening genetic bottleneck caused by consumer demand.

Chocolate-colored Labrador retrievers have a 10 percent shorter lifespan than black or yellow Labradors, according to research published [October 22] in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. Chocolate Labs are also more prone to health problems, such as ear and skin infections, and joint conditions.

The gene for the chocolate color, unlike the genes for the black and yellow color, is recessive in Labradors, which means both mom and dad have to be chocolate-colored to produce the trait in pups. This dramatically narrows down the gene pool, leading to loss of genetic diversity and the onset of genetic bottlenecks.

Related article:  Tiny, lab-grown brains allow researchers to explore what makes humans different

The average lifespan of Labrador retrievers was found to be 12.1 years (which is lower than the previously estimated 12.5 years), but chocolate-colored Labradors had a 10 percent shorter lifespan than black or yellow Labs, typically living to around 10.7 years.

In terms of what can be done to remedy the situation, Labrador retrievers from other parts of the world could be introduced to diversify the gene pool. Or more practically and humanely, prospective owners and breeders should stop fixating on chocolate-colored Labs—or just forgo purebreds altogether.

Read full, original post: Demand for Chocolate Labs Is Making Them Sick and Prone to Early Death

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend