Sense of smell is critical for survival in many mammals. In a new study, researchers examined the olfactory receptor repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs, and five times more than in humans.
Pigs that are bred commercially in Europe are found to have a highly varied mosaic of different European and Asian gene variants. The Asian genes in particular result in a large number of piglets in European pig breeds. Researchers now explain that a number of important characteristics of European pigs have Asian origins. They previously demonstrated that the genetic diversity among commercial pigs is greater than within the existing populations of wild boar.
Four out of five pet owners now consider their pet a member of the family, and consumers are shifting their priorities when it comes to purchasing food for their pets accordingly. One expert writes about recent trends in gourmet pet food in a newly published article.
UK legislation that targets 'dangerous dogs' has not been shown to reduce dog bites and policies should be based on evidence and risk assessment, suggests a new article. Risk assessment for human violence has proved to be accurate and reliable and the author says this "might be a practical preventative measure to reduce injury from dog bite" along with medical and veterinary professionals "familiarizing themselves with evidence based resources."
More than 140 years ago, Charles Darwin noticed something peculiar about domesticated mammals. Compared to their wild ancestors, domestic species are more tame, and they also tend to display a suite of other characteristic features, including floppier ears, patches of white fur, and more juvenile faces with smaller jaws. Since Darwin’s observations, the explanation for this pattern has proved elusive, but now, a new hypothesis has been proposed that could explain why breeding for tameness causes changes in such diverse traits.