Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
wyndrunhr

BC smart gene?

Recommended Posts

I've been reading a bit about scientists discovering that some dogs have a specific gene responsible for higer learning and verbal discrimination?

 

I'm wondering if any BC breeders had ever considered screening breeding stock for this gene?

 

The gene is called CTNND2 and can be tested for it's presence with a blood sample. Not sure how expensive this would be as that could make it impractical for most breeders.

 

I also know that performance and working ability should be the test the carries the most weight for breeding stock, BUT just wondered if anyone had ever considered that or knew more about it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I would say that if the dog works at a high level, it's probably got the gene. Therefore, breed for excellent working ability. Selection for gene accomplished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you start selecting based on this, that, or the other thing, soon enough you will be reducing your choices, your gene pool, genetic diversity, and the overall health of the population. The tried-and-true method of taking a dog and a bitch that have sound, solid pedigrees and have proven themselves at work and on the trial field, and which have compatible and/or complementary working abiities, is the method that has worked for a very long time. It's not fail-proof, but it is what has produced a useful, healthy breed.

 

JMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is, genes don't work in a vacuum. They work in concert, affecting other genes, turning some on or off even. So if you're selecting for a single gene, then you're missing part of the whole package that is a great working dog of any breed.

 

Working stock must require an absolute constellation of genetic gifts. Needing the drive to work as part of a team, acute eyesight/hearing for change or motion, ability to stop short of killing, healthy joints, limbs and heart, sheesh. And this is only what I, who pretty much knows what she's read about working stock, come up with.

 

Yep, you need the whole package. That's why border collies should be bred for their ability to work stock. Period.

 

Ruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is almost surely not a "smart" gene. It's a gene which produces a protein which is associated with cell adhesion molecules, and appears to function to dissolve the connections between cells. During the development of the brain and eye (probably other organs), this aids in allowing cells to migrate to where they need to be.

 

It does the same thing in cancer cells, and is overexpressed in prostate cancer, being associated with a higher probability of metastatic disease.

 

Mutations in this gene are associated with congnitive impairment (in Cri du Chat syndrome for example) because the brain does not develop normally, but that's not the same as saying that the normal function of the gene makes people/other animals smarter.

 

People will try to sell all kinds of tests, just because they can. Unless they are testing for a disease caused by a known mutation(s) in a single gene, most of those tests will be of little use. Intelligence is such a complex set of traits that we can't even define it yet, never mind measure it. And, if we ever do discover genetic tests for "intelligence", never mind the dogs, pity the humans that "fail" those tests.

 

I think what others have said is correct. Forget the genetic tests and other short cuts. Breed for the whole dog; fit, smart, brave, sound, and willing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Soon there will be enough genetic tests that there will be no need for the show ring, only a genetic testing lab.

 

Behaviors are much more complex than simple genetic tests can deduce.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smart gene? Depends on how 'smart' is defined.

 

If a dog performs well in tasks that humans value it is considered "smart". If it doesn't it isn't (to most humans).

 

But to me a "smart" dog is one that has the skills to survive without human support.

 

Put a university professor of classics on a desert island and a non academic but practically minded person on another and see who survives best and longest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Smart gene? Depends on how 'smart' is defined."

 

mum24dog - I agree with you that 'smart' is often defined in human terms or from the human viewpoint. I wrote the above with 'tongue in cheek'. I guess it didn't come across that way?

 

I was at a small outdoor get-together many years ago, and remember watching the 5 or 6 males (who all had PhDs) gather around the BBQ to seriously discuss the best way to start the fire and then fail miserably. In short order, the host of the party (who did not have a PhD) appeared and easily started a fire. I remember remarking to another guest that it was like a joke -- "How many PhDs does it take to start a fire?"

 

Jovi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn’t be expensive at all. But come on Border Collies have been selectively bred primarily for their intelligence. Their drive and physical abilities are tremendous but they wouldn’t be more than an entertaining dog without their unsurpassed ability to learn.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×