Evolution, Knowing Less Than We Thought

I recieved this via an email list. The only links I could come up with were behind a subscriber wall – fascinating stuff for both the dog breeder and medically oriented.

Old tricks make new dogs

Dozens of new dog breeds have taught Dallas scientists one of evolution’s very old tricks. The researchers have uncovered a previously unappreciated genetic mechanism that, over millions of years, may have helped sculpt the many different shapes of the world’s animals.

The findings based on a gene that helps give dog breeds their distinctive head shapes may also explain how massive St. Bernards, tiny Chihuahuas and everything in between descended from the wolf in just a few thousand years.

Understanding this genetic process could also give scientists new clues to the development of the human form and brain, as well as the rampant growth of cancers.

“We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of all the gadgets and tools that nature has come up with,” said John “Trey” Fondon, one of the biologists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas who performed the new research. “This is just one of them. But what it says is that we don’t know nearly what we think we know about how evolution works.”

(Original Research Article here (pdf), courtesy of John Fondon.)

I have the remainder of the article at SDA until I can find a working link.

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Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. John Fondon says:

    I can email you the original research article if you wish to post it.


  2. Kate says:

    that would be cool.

  3. McGehee says:

    DNA is a highly flexible platform for critter design.