written by Krisztián Vas
BroadIgnite awardee Elinor Karlsson, an expert in dog genetics, discusses how her team is plumbing the genomic depths of wolf-dog hybrids for clues to the genetics of autism spectrum disorders and related psychiatric diseases in humans.
"In beginning the concluding section of this book, let's remind ourselves once more that neither selection nor systems of breeding can create new genes. The can, if properly applied, create new and better animals, but they do it by putting the old genes into new patterns or combinations - not by creating new genes.
Sometimes, the traditional ways of doing things really are better.
In the stark landscape of Mongolia, nomadic herders have migrated with their livestock to follow the forage for thousands of years.
During the Soviet occupation of Mongolia, most of the livestock guarding dogs were shot or released. Without the dogs, herdsmen resorted to shooting the predators - wolves and the endangered snow leopard.
The risk of developing hip dysplasia is closely related to hip laxity, which is the degree to which the head of the femur can be displaced from the hip socket. In a normal dog, the head of the femur fits snugly into the cup that forms the socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint.