Thursday, February 19, 2015

Selection for Canine Defect

Sophie Gammond is a very talented photographer who has done a series of portraits of hairless dogs. Check out her web site for the whole series, a few of which are embedded below.

Not noted on the web site is that this kind of hairlessness in dogs is caused by a single type of gene expression, and all hairless dogs are believed to be descended from a single-dog mutation which occurred in the New World some 4,000 years ago. 

Hairless dog breeders are intentionally breeding defective dogs for canine ectodermal dysplasia (CED), a mutation of the FOX13 gene that not only results in hairlessness, but also results in fairly serious dental issues (i.e. loss of teeth). 

1 comment:

Gaddy Bergmann said...

There you go. A genetic disorder, called canine ectodermal dysplasia, is not recognized as such because somebody thought it looked cool and made it part of a breed standard. I wish people would realize that what they call "breeds" are really just codified pathologies.

BTW - It doesn't end with dogs. Now cats are turning up with hairlessness (Sphinx), brachycephalic faces (Persian), dwarfed legs (Munchkin), and so on.

People also intentionally breed reptiles with albinism and leucism, fish with bubble-eyes, veiltails, and multi-tails, etc.

It seems there's no end to how much mankind will screw up his fellow creatures. Again, some modification in domestication is normal, but these grotesque manipulations have been going on for 2,000 years since ancient China, and have only gotten worse with the modern pet fancy. When will people realize that animals fare best when they remain close to their natural state?