I’m freaked out by efforts to engineer animals to suit our needs—according to Arnquist’s story, one advantage of shorter legs in Basset Hounds was allowing hunting humans on horseback to keep up. Plus, it’s hard to ignore the costs of tinkering. Last year’s BBC documentary, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” revealed just a few of the devastating health consequences of breeding for exaggerated physical characteristics.
But, all that said, these results have significant implications. First, it’s more evidence that all the investment of time and money in creating a dog genome is paying off. Secondly, discovering the gene behind Chondrodysplasia in dogs probably holds important clues into dwarfism in humans. I think it’s fascinating that dogs, so helpful to us in our everyday life as companions and assistants, are providing important keys to unlocking human health mysteries.