Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why are DOGS amazing?

Interview excerpt from an episode of the August 15th episode of the Scientific American where journalist Jackie Mow discusses her new TV show about the science of dogs. Websites mentioned on this episode include: channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/explorer; www.theskepticsguide.org

"Steve: I'm doing okay. So tell us about the show that you've been so intimately involved with.

Mow: Well, I just came off this show called The Science of Dogs and it's all about dogs and what makes them so amazing.

Steve: And what makes dogs so amazing?

Mow: Well, dogs unlike other domesticated animals have this huge variety. They are less than two pounds smaller to the 240 pounds massive in the seven-foot great Danes. [A] domesticated pig looks like a pig and a domesticated cat looks like [a] cat, so but the dog has this enormous variety and everything in between.

Steve: What are the most interesting scientific aspects of the domestic dog that you learned about while you were working on this program?

Mow: Well, we found out they were looking at the dog genome and they sequenced the dog genome about five years ago, and there is one scientist in particular who is looking at the tandem repeats—which is repeated letters in the dog genome—but they also exist in the human genomes and in other animals. But the dogs in particular is [are] able to copy these tandem repeats fairly easily in their genomes and so what happens is they can mutate really quickly. So those dogs were created only 100 years ago, a little over 100 years ago in the Victorian era in England. And what happened was all these middle class people—they often had a lot of money and they wanted a hobby—so they decided they would start bringing dogs and, for example, this happened also in Germany and France and later in the U.S., you know, the Doberman pinscher for example was a dog that was created during that era and it happened over a very, very short amount of time.

Steve: So there is something unusual about the dog genome that lends itself to a lot of plasticity in how many breeds you can get in a short amount of time compared to other animals.

Mow: Yeah, absolutely! And this happens also in other canids: In wolves, jackals, coyotes they found also this slip which they call a slippery genome, (unclear 17:55) tandem repeat these variants and so that's why unlike cats, the cats don't have it. So once, you know, once removed from the canid species, you don't see that kind of slippery genome.

Steve: The canid species—c-a-n-i-d—and that's a taxonomic classification for all these kinds of dog and dog-related animals.

Mow: Yeah! Exactly!

Steve: So, the program debuts on the 15th.

Mow: It debuts on the 15th, it premiers on August 15th at 8 o'clock P.M. on the National Geographic Channel.

Steve: 8 P.M. Eastern.

Mow: 8 P.M. eastern standard time and then a repeat on August 18th, that's Saturday at 7 o'clock P.M. and then they will repeat again the following week.

Steve: Terrific, thanks Jackie. I appreciate it.

Mow: Thank you so much."

Steve: The Science of Dogs premiers August 15th. To see a preview, go to channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/explorer.

Hm. I always knew us 4 leggeds are AMAZING!


glad to be me.

1 comment:

Honeygo Beasley said...

Like you, Silvie ... amazingly pawsome! Going to vote now...