Thursday, November 10, 2016

How farming changed the dog

It is known that dogs were domesticated approximately 15,000 years ago, and they have been a companion to us, humans, throughout this time. 
A recent study suggested that farming has changed the genome of dogs over time. This change happened during the same time it took place in humans, since dogs were eating so much wheat and millet while with their owners on the farm. The change happens in the Amy2B gene, which is a gene that helps digest starch. Ancient wolves were studied and they found that originally there were only 2 copies of the Amy2B gene in their genome. Dogs now have from four to 30 copies of this gene in their genome. Scientists believe dogs have been able to stay by our sides all of these years because of this transformation in their genome. One of the researchers in this study stated, "Farming led to a five-fold increase in the number of starch-digesting genes in these dogs."

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