Monday, June 24, 2024

The Genetics of Longevity… and Cancer

“Imagine this: You bring home your golden retriever puppy. She doesn’t look exactly like the dogs that once won prizes in the ring. Maybe she has a slight curl in her tail and a large white patch on her chest. But she’s positively adorable, and you have assurances from the breeder that she has tested negative for a long list of genetic variants associated with canine cancer—knowledge we possess, in this future scenario, thanks to the studies in longevity that are currently underway. You carefully pick her food, toys, and bedding based on new veterinary recommendations from the research. As she grows older, you follow a set of exercise guidelines shown to improve life expectancy. When she gets old and develops a heart issue, your vet confidently lays out your treatment options and how likely each one is to improve her lifespan and quality of life. She might not look exactly like the dogs your parents or grandparents had, the perfect golden hue or velvety tail. But that’s a tradeoff that recent generations of anguished dog lovers should not—and hopefully will not—hesitate to make.” 
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