A recent study, conducted by the DNA research company “Embark Veterinary Inc.” and published in PLOS Genetics, researched why Huskies have blue eyes and the genetics behind the eye color variation.
The study was carried by Adam Boyko, Ph.D., founder, and CEO of the said genetic research company, and Aaron Sams, Ph.D. and senior scientist at the same company Embark Veterinary Inc.
The ice blue color of the eyes of a husky has always been a reason for sighs and admiration, especially if there is heterochromia or different colors mixed such as one eye blue and one brown, or one eye half-brown half-blue.
According to the authors of the study, the culprit for this amazing eye color is a chromosome duplication, more specific they found that in huskies and some non-merle Australian shepherds there is a 98.6-kilobase duplication on the chromosome 18 near the ALX4 gene. This plays a very important role in the development of eye color in the above-mentioned mammals.
They discovered that even one copy of the chromosome will be sufficient to cause blue eyes, but also discovered that in some dogs where the duplication is present, blue eye color is absent. They believe that besides the chromosomal duplication, other environmental and genetic factors might be involved.
The study was conducted by using genetic data from more than 6000 dogs, and this is the first consumer genomics study that was conducted on nonhuman models, and by far the largest genome study involving canines.
Read the original article “Dog DNA company discovers why Huskies have blue eyes” on the Veterinary Practice News website.
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