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Old 01-24-2013, 07:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Study - Dogs and Carbohydrates

I read a fascinating article today about a genetic study on the differences between dogs and wolves. Researchers examined the DNA of 60 dogs and 12 wolves to identify the differences. Some of the differences related to the digestion of carbohydrates. The researches found that dogs had developed the ability to digest carbohydrates better than wolves.

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Ten of the genes are involved in starch or fat metabolism, including three that carry instructions for making a protein that is pivotal to digestion of starch. One of them makes alpha amylase, an enzyme that breaks starch into the sugar maltose and shorter carbohydrate strands. Dogs carry many more copies of this gene than wolves, the scientists found and the alpha amylase activity in their tissues is five times greater.
Another gene makes an enzyme for the next step in carb digestion: turning maltose into glucose. This gene is 12 times more active in dogs than wolves, and blood tests showed that maltose is processed into glucose twice as quickly in dogs.
The third gene makes a protein that moves glucose from the gut into the bloodstream. The scientists saw several dog-specific alterations in this gene that suggest the glucose transporter may work more efficiently in dog guts than wolf guts.
Taken together, the data fit with the fact that dogs eat more starch than wolves, Axelsson said. He added that this adaptation would have allowed the first dogs to get more goodness out of the waste food they were drawn to at early farming settlements.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry, I should have posted the link:

Carbs were key in wolves' evolution into dogs - latimes.com
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting article. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, I saw that and was looking for it; it raises some interesting points.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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yes , and there was a study of eastern coyotes which compared them to wolves trying to answer the question why the coyote was so successful whereas wolf populations were fragile.
Part of the answer was the wolf diet was much more limited and specialist , compared to the coyote diet which was flexible and adaptable and could forage on our "garbage" -- the wolf could not.
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