Man's best friend equally adapted to high altitudes of Tibet

Feb 11, 2014

As humans have expanded into new environments and civilizations, man's best friend, dogs, have been faithful companions at their sides. Now, with DNA sequencing technology readily available to examine the dog genome, scientists are gaining new insights into canine evolution.

In a new study published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, author Dong-Dong Wu, et. al., explored the genetic basis of high-altitude adaptation of Tibetan Mastiffs, which were originally domesticated from the Chinese native of the plains. The authors examined genome-wide mutations (called , or SNPs) of 32 Tibetan Mastiffs, and compared them to 20 Chinese native dogs and 14 grey wolves. Overall, they identified more than 120,000 SNPs, and in their analysis, narrowed these down to 16 genes that have undergone positive selection in mastiffs, with 12 of these relevant to high altitude adaption.

These candidate genes have been shown to be involved in energy production critical to high-altitude survival under low oxygen conditions. Similar categories showing selective signatures have been observed in other high-altitude animals, suggesting that "independently, genes can be adaptively evolved to yield similar phenotypic adaptive responses," said Wu

One hypoxia-inducible factor (HIFs), called EPAS1, has also been found in hypoxia adaptation in Tibetans, supporting the possibility of convergent occurring between dogs and humans, though the authors caution that much more work needs to be done for a full comparison of high altitude adaptation. For future studies, the authors will explore using whole genome sequences from individual Tibetan Mastiffs to gain better insights into high-altitude adaptations and canine evolution.

Explore further: The genome sequence of Tibetan antelope sheds new light on high-altitude adaptation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Genetic secrets of the world's toughest little bird

Jul 16, 2013

Scientists from Griffith University have taken part in an international study which has revealed the genetic secrets of how a small bird can survive in one of the most hostile environments on earth.

Genetic adaptation for high altitudes identified

Aug 15, 2013

Research led by scientists from the University of California, San Diego has decoded the genetic basis of chronic mountain sickness (CMS) or Monge's disease. Their study provides important information that validates the genetic ...

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lex Talonis
not rated yet Feb 11, 2014
You can eat dogs, but snow mobiles? Not so much.

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.