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Bulldogs’ tails give insight into rare human disorder
Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terries all share a feature not found in other breeds - a short, kinked tail or “screw tail”.
Scientists identify link between ‘screw tails’ and Robinow syndrome

Researchers in the US have made a link between the bulldog’s curly tail and a rare inherited disorder in humans.

Scientists from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, found a common mutation in bulldogs and French bulldogs that is similar to genetic changes in the human disease, Robinow syndrome.

They believe that understanding this common mutation in these popular dog breeds could give more insight into this rare condition. The study has been published in the journal PLOS Genetics.

“It’s a very rare human disease but very common in dogs, so this could be a model for the human syndrome,” said professor Danika Bannash from UC Davis.

Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terries all share a feature not found in other breeds - a short, kinked tail or “screw tail”. This is because all three breeds are missing the vertebrae that makes up the tail bone.

To learn more about the genetics associated with screw tail breeds, researchers analysed the genome of 100 dogs, of which 10 were screw tails.

From over 12 million individual differences, the researchers identified one mutation in a gene called DISHEVELLED 2 or DVL2. The variant was present in 100 per cent of the bulldogs and French bulldogs sampled, and it was also common in Boston terriers.

In humans, mutations in the related DVL1 and DVL3 genes are linked to Robinow syndrome - a disorder that causes a short, wide “babyface”, spinal deformities and short limbs - traits also shared by screw tail breeds.

The study also identified a key biochemical step in the pathway disrupted by the mutation, suggesting that a common molecular defect is responsible for the appearances of both Robinow patients and screw tail dog breeds. 

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”