Scientists find evidence our best friends, dogs, similarly adapted to malaria in Africa | 10/10/2017 | Staff
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Once domesticated, dogs spread across the globe wherever humans migrated and settled.

"Recently, we have shown the first evidence that dogs can undergo similar adaptations as humans, using the same genes to live in the high altitudes of Tibet," said Dr. Ya-ping Zhang.

Research - Team - Dr - Zhang - Genes

Now, the Chinese research team led by Dr. Zhang has successfully identified genes selected in African dogs and functionally verified the action of one of these as the first evidence of dog adaptation to malaria.

Dogs have survived in tropical environments for thousands of years alongside humans," said Dr. Zhang. "In this study, we have identified genes associated with insulin secretion and sensitivity, immunity, angiogenesis and ultraviolet protection that showed adaptive selection.

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The findings were published in the advanced online edition of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

To perform the study, Yan-Hu Liu et al. sequenced the genomes of 19 dogs from Nigeria. For this new data set, they identified a set of candidate genes for natural selection in African village dogs and also carried out functional studies to confirm that one of these, ADGRE1, might be responsible for providing host immunity to Plasmodium infection—-a target of selection associated with malaria.

Study - ADGRE1 - Defense - Plasmodium - Infection

"Our study suggests ADGRE1 also contributes to defense against Plasmodium infection in dogs, and thus, convergent evolution in this gene between humans and dogs," said Dr. Guo-Dong Wang. "This is a novel finding since in earlier studies the most apparent...
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