London, January 13 (ANI): Scientists have found the reason behind the famous wrinkled appearance of Shar-pei.
Joshua Akey, Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues analysed the genetics of 32 wrinkled and 18 smooth-coated Shar-peis to those of the other breeds.
The team found that significant, differences in a gene called HAS2, which makes an enzyme known to be important in the production of skin.
"There was probably a mutation that arose in that gene that led to a really wrinkly puppy and a breeder said, 'hey, that looks interesting, I'm going to try to selectively breed this trait and make more of these dogs'," the BBC quoted Akey as saying.
He added: "HAS2 makes hyaluronic acid synthase 2, and it's an enzyme that makes hyaluronic acid, and that's one of the principal constituents of the skin.
"There are rare human cases where there are mutations that lead to really severe wrinkling in humans, too.
"So, that suggested it was a good candidate to look at; and sure enough, when we sequenced it we saw that that gene explained wrinkling in Shar-peis.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (ANI)