Lab Report: Gene Researchers Map Out Dog Family Tree | NBC New York
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Finding Forever Homes Across the Country on Aug. 19, 2017

Lab Report: Gene Researchers Map Out Dog Family Tree

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    Lab Report: Gene Researchers Map Out Dog Family Tree
    Getty Images (File)
    File photo of a Golden Retriever in New York City. According to a new canine family tree by the National Institutes of Health, "gun dogs" such as Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters originated in Victorian England, when hunting with guns became a popular gentlemen's sport.

    Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have come up with the most complete and definitive canine family tree to date, NBC News reported.

    They've spent more than 20 years sampling the genes of 161 breeds of dog, sequencing them and comparing them to show how breeds were mixed and matched to make new breeds. The genealogy also gives a rough timeline and geographic map of what came from where.

    "It's very subtle variation in small numbers of genes that account for that very large difference in morphology that we see across breeds," said Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the NIH.

    The goal is to track disease-causing genetic mutations, which often translate to human disease genes, Ostrander said.

    More than 53,000 pets were adopted through the 2016 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.