Labrador Retrievers: how obese dogs could help humans
Labrador Retrievers are active and friendly dogs, and are often very food-motivated! Now, on one hand, a food-motivated dog may easy to train, but on the other hand, this dog may be more likely to become obese and develop associated health problems. Recently, researchers have identified a genetic variation that is associated with both appetite and obesity in Labs, and this research may also be able to help humans.
The gene in question is called POMC, and it appears that approximately 1/4 of Labrador Retrievers carry at least one copy of a variant of this gene. POMC is involved in the brain’s ability to recognize hunger and being full after eating.
Genetic variants that affect the POMC gene are also seen in humans. Hopefully, understanding more about the mechanisms behind this gene will help scientists help Labrador Retrievers as well as humans. Read more about it here.