Source (NYTimes)When mutant, muscle-bound puppies started showing up in litters of champion racing whippets, the breeders of the normally sleek dogs invited scientists to take DNA samples at race meets here and across the country. They hoped to find a genetic cause for the condition and a way to purge it from the breed.
It worked. “Bully whippets,” as the heavyset dogs are known, turn out to have a genetic mutation that enhances muscle development. And breeders may not want to eliminate the “bully” gene after all. The scientists found that the same mutation that pumps up some whippets makes others among the fastest dogs on the track...
Some Labrador breeders are using DNA tests for coat color to guarantee exotic silver-coated retrievers. Mastiff breeders test for shaggy fur to avoid “fluffies,” the long-haired whelps occasionally born to short-haired parents...
But because genes are often tied to multiple traits, scientists warn, deliberate selection of certain ones can backfire. The gene responsible for those silver-coated Labradors, for example, is tied to skin problems.
With the genetic curtain lifted, breeders also take on a heavier burden for the consequences of their choices.[/b]