A genetic variant might explain why some Labradors are more likely to suffer from obesity

Scientists in University of Cambridge found that a genetic variation associated with obesity and appetite in Labrador retrievers, may explain why Labrador retrievers are more likely to become obese than dogs of other breeds. The same gene is found also in humans and might have implications for the health and obesity as well.

Labrador is one of the most popular dog breed in the world. In 2015 it was the most popular breed in U.K, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the 4th popular breed in Germany. Labrador’s are said to be kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable from nature – and an excellent working dog as well as an excellent family dog. Labradors have the greatest documented obesity prevalence and have been shown to be more food motivated than other breeds.

The researchers from University of Cambridge found that a certain variant of one gene in particular, known as POMC, was strongly associated with weight, obesity and appetite in Labradors and flat coat retrievers. The dogs carrying a copy of the gene was on average 1.9kg heavier than the dogs not carrying the gene.

A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs
Eleanor Raffan, Rowena J. Dennis, Conor J. O’Donovan, Julia M. Becker, Robert A. Scott, Stephen P. Smith, David J. Withers, Claire J. Wood, Elena Conci, Dylan N. Clements, Kim M. Summers, Alexander J. German, Cathryn S. Mellersh, Maja L. Arendt, Valentine P. Iyemere, Elaine Withers, Josefin Söder, Sara Wernersson, Göran Andersson, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Giles S.H. Yeo1, Stephen O’Rahilly, Cell Metabolism, Volume 23, Issue 5, p893–900, 10 May 2016

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