|Barked: Fri Oct 14, '05 5:24pm PST |
|If your dog doesn't have a solid color coat, it won't even look the same! Spots and stripes and brindle colors will be in different places because they are determined in part by your environment (ie cell movement during blastulation stage).
And clonig rare breeds won't necessarily help. One problem you might run into is that certain animals for whatever reason are going to be easier to clone than others. So say you have a rare breed made up of a population as follows (for those of you who know lots of genetics, I'm using a mitochondrial DNA model so we can consider everything as haploid since mitochondria are passed down only through the mom):
Initial population: A A A A A B B C D E
In this population type A makes up half of the population. Lets just pretend that type A has some sort of beneficial gene... let's pretend it has the gene for resistance to canine flu or something but that the population hasn't actually been exposed to the flu yet. Types B C and E don't have this resistance, but are still present in the population.
Say that by chance it is easier to clone the B and E dogs but you do get clones of all of them. If you clone those dogs a few times and re-introduce them to the initial population (we'll pretend there were no new offspring other than the clones during this time) you'd have:
A A A A A A B B B B B C C D D E E E E E
See how the population has changed? Now instead of it being 50% As it is now only 30% As. You can imagine that if this population were to breed that there would be lots fewer As than the first population. And instead of 20% Bs and 10% Es in the first population it's now 25% Bs and 25% Es.
Then say that the canine flu comes around to this population... more of the animals will be wiped out because they won't have the A allele. Thereby rendering null all your attempts to help by cloning.
This same type of problem occurs in nature when populations get small enough you get genetic drift. Or if a small group of individuals establish a new population it is called a founder event. It can be called Inbreeding Depression, too.
So the best way to help out rare dog breeds would be to protect them and try to help them all out to breed better. Like get more breeders interested and stuff, make sure they're getting awesome vet care and food and everything. If need be, look to the history of the breed and bring in some new genetic diversity by breeding with some of the ancestors of the breed (like bringing in Texas Panthers to help Florida Panthers with the reproductive problems, crooked tails and cowlicks). After all, it stays in the spirit of the breed to go back and introduce ancestor genes as they probably had some of them in the beginning after all. However, then you have the problem of then they can't be registered and all like the Florida Panther problem (since they have some Texas panther blood they can't be considered as separate management units so there is less funding for conserving them), but you know what, you're gonna have problems no matter what.
And since you'll have problems no matter what, there are much cheaper and more efficient ways to try to save rare breeds and species than cloning individuals.
I'll get off the chalkboard now, sorry! Can you tell I'm a conservation geneticist/molecular ecologist?
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