Monday, 1 April 2013

World's first striped pug



Striped pug, anyone?

German scientists have succeeded in transplanting a key gene that codes for the zebra's stripes into a dog - to produce the world's first litter of striped pugs. The researchers say they have been inundated with requests to buy the transgenic animals, which will inevitably be a surefire hit with breeders and owners looking for something completely different.

It is the latest in a series of efforts to transplant genes into another species to dramatic effect, most famously the creation of mice that glow in the dark through the insertion of a gene that produces a protein that gives jellyfish a green fluorescence. The German researchers used the same technique to introduce the striping gene into pug embryos - a retrovirus, much like the one that causes AIDS, to deliver the gene into the cells and insert them into the dog genome.

The gene governs the switching on and off of melanocytes (pigment cells) - the process by which stripes are formed in the zebra.

The result was a litter of four pugs -  two males, two females - now a year old and all with distinctive striping.  Such is the demand for the animals that the team are repeating the experiment to help fund further research.

The pugs are, says lead researcher Frans Liebermop, genetically identical to any other pug, other than for the striping gene. And there may even be a real benefit to  pugs who are well-known for overheating... the zebra's stripes are thought to help the animal regulate its temperature by dissipating heat more effectively than solid colours.

In response to the news, a Kennel Club spokesperson said: "Genetically, these are provably pugs. If the benefit to the offspring could be proved, we would certainly consider allowing the registration of striped pugs - we are always looking for ways to improve dog health."

But it's unlikely to go down well with the purists. A couple of weeks ago, there was uproar on dog forums when this ad appeared on Pets4Homes asking £10,000 for the world's first chocolate and tan pug. Chocolate and tan is not a recognised colourway in pugs. In that case, though, it was almost certainly introduced by crossbreeding with another toy breed.


The German team, based at the April Täuschen Institute in Frankfurt, says their research will be published in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.

76 comments:

  1. My god, when people are being asked to withdraw from overbreeding dogs, to improve the stock they have and now this assault appears. The very explanation to breed them to raise funds to further research is disgusting. Is it really going to help the breed because the stripes cool them down. Absolute propaganda. It's another attempt to down grade canines in favour of bank swelling past times. Human intevention where it isn't needed. Just breed healthier pugs, I really think it is truly shocking and damning about the human condition against another innocent species that cannot protect itself.

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    1. i totally agree with you, i am disgusted by this

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    2. It's mean, they shouldn't do this!

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    3. I love the idea in part. I wouldn't mind a zebra striped dog at all its very attractive.

      I wouldn't like a pug though thats very unattractive in its present form.

      Why couldn't they make a striped jack russell? Breed healthy striped dogs get rid of the pug/bulldog/french bulldog as breeds completely? YES! No more misery for them.

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    4. No, while it is true that Bully breeds have been bred with health on the backburner, letting this part of our history disappear is an unjustifiable answer, we are the FIRST species to genetically alter anothers through selective breeding in the history of earth. I think thats pretty damn impressive, did we know what we were doing? No. Genetic modification is something we are learning as we go, I think we should work together to preserve these breeds while reducing their health problems. Letting these dogs disappear means 1) they and their ancestors suffered for not and 2) that humans can't fix their mistakes. We understand genetics now, lets use that knowledge to save these little fur balls so our childrens children can play with pugs without guilt or social turmoil. They are worth saving.

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    5. I far more concerned with the pushed in faces on the pugs than i am about any stripes. i really don't understand the upset.

      bull dogs, french bull dogs, pugs, great danes, i.w.hs, all these dogs that suffer, can't be physical as a dog should, can't make it to 10 years old, these issues concern me.

      but stripes? if it doesn't hurt them, who cares? why care?
      care about getting rid of those unlivable pushed in faces, then i will believe you actually care about the dog.

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    6. i just scrolled down to see this was an april 1st post. still, i have to wonder at the extreme upset i saw on here. my upset is that breeders and consumers claim and even believe they love dogs, then they breed and purchase dogs who cannot have a normal life because of the bizarre shape they have been bred into.

      just breathing can be a night mare for them, and people on here are upset about stripes?

      unless there was a negative effect from it, the worst thing i see about the stripes is that more people would want these unfortunate dogs, and more would have to be born to accommodate the market tend.

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    7. Yeah.

      You know what would improve their heat regulation even more than stripes? Breeding for a longer snout. I wonder if the KC would allow transgenic pugs that had long snouts into the books? Hmmmmm.....

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  2. I´ve just posted the equivalent of 100 quid to Unicef, who tell me that small amount should secure access to clean, drinkable water for roughly 10 kids. To keep them from dying of stuff like cholera, you know.
    I´ll send a bit to the Red Cross for Syrian refugees, too. I´m lucky enough to be in a position to do that, and grateful for it.

    Money on a transmutant striped pug? Don´t you dog nerds ever get tired of yourselves?

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  3. Hhhmmm, scratch, frown, sigh...............I really do wonder if designer stripes will improve health issues for this little dog......maybe they will just go faster!

    One thing is for sure though everyone is sure gonna want one, what a great money spinner!!

    I just can't view this a great news for pugs :-(

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  4. and they only eat grass or carrots

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  5. Margaret Carter1 April 2013 at 14:02

    Thank you for making me smile on the first day of this month.

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  6. There are already brindle pugs, and they've been around for a while.

    LOL

    I LOVE this day. It's the best time of the year!!!!

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  7. ..hmm, but will they get along with Rhodesian Ridgebacks and will Basenjis take offence??

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  8. Kudos, it took me a minute to actually figure this out, Pam

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  9. "April Täuschen" nice way to slip in the origins of this funny post X3

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  10. Love the totally black feet! What gene caused that?

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  11. Love it! :)

    And now I want a black and tan zebra!

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  12. Anonymous 13:04 ... check the date! ;)

    Nice one, Jemima!

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  13. Ohh...ooops! Now I get it! Thanks for making me laugh at myself, Jemima! Serves me right for being a literal-minded irritable dog-world fed-up dog nerd myself!
    :-)

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  14. Please post the source of the information, names of scientists or university involved.

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  15. errgh... a little slow today and a happy April Täuschen to you too!

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  16. How could this possibly go wrong?!? What a joke! Oh, wait...

    :-D

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  17. oh the horror of it all and to make it even worse they are actually DOUBLING on this gene and it has WINGS and they have PUPA.. is that multiple for pup in Italy

    Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
    Double-striped Pug
    Scientific classification
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Order: Lepidoptera
    Family: Geometridae
    Genus: Gymnoscelis
    Species: G. rufifasciata
    Binomial name
    Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
    Haworth, 1809

    The Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata) is a moth of the family Geometridae. It is a widespread and common species, being found throughout the Palearctic region, the Near East and North Africa.

    This is a variable species but always easy to recognize due to the two prominent dark fascia across each forewing which give the species its common name. The hindwings are pale grey with darker fringes and a small black discal spot. The wingspan is 15–19 mm. Two, sometimes three, broods are produced each year and the adults are on the wing in April and May (sometimes earlier), July and August, and sometimes later in the autumn [1]. It flies at night and is attracted to light and flowers, both of its food plants and others.

    The larva feeds on the flowers of a huge range of plants (see list below) and has also been known to feed on the larvae of other Lepidoptera. The species overwinters as a pupa.

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  18. I was hoping that this was some sort of sick joke but it appears to be true! There really are "scientists" experimenting with dog genes. A friend also mentioned that there are German Shepherds that are Calico colored!

    Enough already! Hasn't man done enough damage to certain dog breeds?

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  19. haha - brilliant !!
    Also love the outraged replies followed by the clatter of lots of pennies dropping .... ; )

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    1. I'm astonsihed at the number of people who are so determined to see evil in the world of dogs that they abandon their intelligence and fail to actually read what's written and thus come to an independent point of view! It'd be even funnier than Jemima's clever April Fool if it wasn't so tragic. No more common sense than sheep - and they think they can advise others!!

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  20. Don't know about anyone else, but I am holding out for a houndstooth pattern coat. Then I'll get one. Perhaps if they can breed a nice black watch plaid-coated? Cross the little pug with a kilt........

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  21. There are already too many unwanted dogs in this world, too many puppies being bred in puppy farms, too many 'designer' dogs being bred and trafficked in from shady breeding sites. And this is before we get into that whole genetically modified scene. The ego's of some scientists certainly know no bounds!!!! This is nothing more than ridiculous and will cause only harm.

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  22. You can't tauschen me!
    DAC

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  23. The zebra's stripes reflect heat more efficiently compared to their sealy base colour. It's not because it's solid, but because it's dark. The colour is lightened by the white striping - the lighter, the more reflective. So, a pale fawn pug would reflect heat better than a pug with any black, solid or striped. But adding stripes to a fawn pug would not create black and white stripes, but fawn and white stripes, because the stripes are inhibited, not concentrated, pigment. In this case, it would be more reflective, but only marginally. It's certainly not doing white bulldogs much benefit. Nitpicking an April fool's prank probably means the joke is on me, though.

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  24. I don't know if this is good news or bad?.

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    1. I guess it would depend on whether the pug would clash with your decor or not........ ;-P

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    2. Same anon again, as for rereading the post, I'm optimistic about this. But, let (more) studies be done to prove that the strips can help. I wish they did allow more coat colors to be recognized with pugs, so that they can have a bigger gene diversity. I really like the silver fawn coat (though it's not recognized with the American pug parent club).

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  25. I have no ill feelings to designer dogs as long as they are not knowingly bred to be inferior to normal dog heal. That being said, if (theoretically) it were by my perimeters throughout history, Pugs wouldn't even exist. Excess skin, drooling mouths, flat noses, extremely small tails, extremely small leg ratios, extremely thin coats, crooked spines, gigantism, high disorder and cancer rates, along with many other detrimental deformities and the like would not be tolerated.

    Zebra stripes though? Not worth even talking about, besides the artificial horizontal gene transfer, which is a good breakthrough to re-literate since it is done to dogs more often. I laughed though when you referenced AIDS to retroviruses, as if its a prime example, when it only has an indirect relation to it. RNA is what should obviously be referenced to those who don't have such knowledge, as they can passively understand it has something to do with genes(as most know the concept of DNA). What were you thinking when writing down AIDS?

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  26. I once put brown eyeshadow on my cream coloured pet rat's nose, ears and tail and claimed to have bred the first siamese rat in Australia . Tipped/pointed colours were available overseas but as we can't import rodents, the breeders fell over themselves when I made my announcement. Good times.

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  27. Denuded retrovirii are used in gene therapy as they're so good at getting into cells. And I'm hardly the first to use the comparison.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2002/01/0111_020111genmice.html

    Jemima

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    1. Ahh, still, they go to HIV first, which is more appropriate. Only after they extensively explain it do they move on to AIDS as an example for another topic, which has to do with what test subjects to use.

      I stand by my point of invalid use of the term AIDS, if slightly, as it is only a result of HIV, when we are on topic of what retroviruses do, equal to talking about a topic (lets say old-world cannons) that is a derivative of artillery, then giving an example of "much like the one that causes nuclear explosions". It feels disjointed. It is just a minor annoyance for me in the end though.

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  28. Another "good" idea would be to have prisoners train the dogs. They already have the outfit.......

    Okay, I REALLY need to get a life!!!!! ;-)

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  29. I'm staggered that so many people fell for this - I suppose it's a varient of "I saw it on TV so it must be true"!

    Well done Jemima.

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  30. Very funny. Some of the answers/comments to this posting remind me of the Phil Hendrie Show. If you aren't familiar with him, you will need to look it up to get the joke.

    Anyway, I have a question that is along the same line of the zebra pug above and that is this:

    Are Pomskies (a cross between Siberian Huskies and Pomeranians) legit? Or is this year 'round April Fools joke? I came across teh following site which seems to be pretty rational/sincere and not full of the hype I have seen on some of the spammy/scammy type Pomsky sites.

    http://pomskyhq.com

    Does anyone have any feedback?

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  31. I hate this day, I always fall for it.

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  32. What a bunch of peta bullshit. Maybe you have f-ed up dogs in the UK, but the crap about pugs is simply not true -- or overblown (or again, some UK only issue?!?!?). And SkyArk: you are a stupid tool. Pugs don;t drool, their eyes don;t pop out, they breathe just fine in normal weather (sibertian huskies shouldn't be out in the 90 degree temperature, either). And their tails are awesome (vs, frenchies and others with no tail at all). Thin coats, crooked spines, gigantism? Higher rates of cancer or health issues than other dogs? WTF are you talking about? These are in no pugs I've ever known (and I know 100s). Small leg ratios, really?!?!? Compared to what? Have you seen a weenier dog or corgi? PS. The striped pug joke is amusing, though.

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    1. I think they where talking about things they would not allow in ALL breeds, not just talking about pugs

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  33. How about a happy compromise here?

    some UK only issue?!?!?.....sorry nope.

    Pugs don;t drool....think you are quite correct on that one

    their eyes don;t pop out....they can and have in particularly prominent ones. The UK pug standard now asks for "relatively large" eyes and penalises prominent eyes in show dogs. Shame the US standard doesn't follow suite.

    they breathe just fine in normal weather.......depends what you class as normal and fine.

    And their tails are awesome.....the double tightly curled tail is itself a form of hemivertebra. Doesn't necessarily mean a problem, but some believe this predisposes the rest of the spine to weaknesses. Cute though aint it.

    Thin coats, crooked spines, gigantism?......Fawns have thicker coats than blacks but it is not a problem. Crooked spines.....ever heard of hemivertebra and scoliosis in pugs? Google!

    Higher rates of cancer or health issues than other dogs?.....Cancer; I stand to be corrected but I do not think pugs are known to be have a higher rate of any particular forms.

    As for health issues, compared to other breeds they probably do have higher rates of respiratory and eye related issues given their conformation, but there are no real figures to prove it.....purely based on my O'level biology which included basic anatomy and physiology.

    ps; I have nothing to do with PETA!

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    1. I don't know how to respond to this, besides telling you to re-read what I wrote and not facepalm at your own misinterpretation of my wording. Also, if you want to respond to what I said, then reply to it, not put a comment that is way farther down. I'm baffled I even found this.

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    2. I've only seen this now and I note also the date on which it was posted. Some people would swallow a hammer :-)

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    3. I know this is an older post, but can I just say that you make me want to smash my computer with a brick? You need to re-check your facts. I work with dogs, and can tell you that pugs are a result of humans choosing looks over health. They have re-shaped the pug to the point that they have horrible breathing problems and so many other issues that it's just ridiculous. Cute doesn't justify the pain that some of these animals go through as they age. Would you walk around all day wearing shoes that bent your feet into awkward positions and with your nose clamped if it was cute. Probably not. Humans did wrong by the pug, and that's fact.

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    4. You're right lets just kill em all, save em the pain. While we are at it, lets put down all people with down syndrom, since their genetically inferior to the rest of us as well, and we wouldn't want them to suffer. Unless you actually have a solution to tje problem stop bitching. The deed is done, a long time ago people didn't understand genetics correctly and made some poor descisions, now we have to deal with it. Kennel Clubs all over the world are trying to undo tuis damage while preserving the breed, if we all team up and try to breed the dogs with fewer health problems together then maybe our hildrens children can enjoy bully breeds without guilt about genetic inferiority. Domestication of the canine was a huge evolutionary step for himans, I think it's worth trying to restore and preserve this part of our history.

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  34. STOP GENETICALLY ALTERING THINGS!!!!!

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  35. It was funny when it appeared on Facebook 2 weeks ago, and is still funny now, even if secondhand. Also amusing to see that several of the repeat posters on this blog appear to have had SoH removals at some point. Hope that the photo artist who "genetically modified" the original will be given some credit?

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  36. keep making zebra pugs please, my mom loves them, I would do anything to keep her happy, plus this is so cool, science help people in history, it made people happy, now create more zebra pugs!

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  37. This is just horrible. Why people feel the need to change an animal to match their preferences is beyond me. The pug has been reshaped through breeding to the point that there is practically no way to help aid it's over-heating/breathing problems. You wanna fix the pug? Breed it so that its face is pushed in, so the the air can flow properly. A pug is not a zebra, so why the hell would you want it look like one? It'd probably be cheaper, in the long run, to just get pet friendly dye and color your dog instead of buying one of these anyways. The fact that some of the pug is white will have no affect on the pug's over-heating. Hell, the black stripes would just cancel out the white! It's the breathing that screws the pug up. It can't circulate air properly. Why do you think dogs pant? To help cool down. The pug cannot breathe effectively, therefore it is subject to suffer for over-heating. HUMANS ARE FREAKING DESTROYING ANIMALS! They do it with cats, dogs, horses, and so many other animals. JUST LEAVE THEM BE! If we could just pull our heads out of our asses and appreciate the animals for what they are meant to be like, then we wouldn't have so many breeds with health issues today. STOP WITH THE EFFING MODIFICATIONS!! THEY ARE NOT DOING THE ANIMALS ANY GOOD!

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  38. At first I thought it was for real! Striking looking pug, by the way, I am sure they would become very popular.

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  39. Don't exist April Tauschen Institute in WEB. Don't exist striped Pug!

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  40. The "striped" pug is a fake. It is completely photoshop. The choco tan pug is real.

    Don't Lie!!!!

    HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY.

    I agree, DON'T EXIST STRIPED PUG!

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  41. disgusting !!!!

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  42. To the person above asking about Pomsksies. Pomskys are legit to a degree....you just never know if the Pomsky you get is really a pomsky. I have a website discussing some of the scams related to pomskies.

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  43. April Täuschen Institute in Frankfurt.

    Good one!

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  44. Please do not say it is a joke. They promise me a striped winter white rodent for first april 2014!

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  45. its a joke. they used paint or something like that. how do i know?
    the stipes go a millimeter off the pug.

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  46. How amusing, such hoopla and posturing from so many! It was an interesting experiment, and no reason *I* can see for having a collective conniption fit. You purists are almost as annoying as the RARAs insisting no one should breed dogs for *gasp!* filthy lucre. It's a pretty color. We all admire tigers and zebras, and if science can add this color pattern to dogs, and the kennel clubs accept this, then I see no big deal. Yes when it is new there may be a fad appeal, we are all aware of human nature with something rare, but like all things that will end soon enough as the 'new' color mainstreams. Stop behaving as if wonder and beauty are bad things and as if wanting something pretty is somehow a sign of poor character. Dear God, listen to yourselves on occasion. And get a sense of proportion. Buy one if you have to.

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    1. I agree, if someone want to waste money on that its their business,

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  47. that image is so horribly photoshopped i cant

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  48. Enough is enough ,Stop trying to play god you bloody fool and research something more useful like how to stop cot death or maybe cancer .You call yourself a scientist , your just a bloody idiot .

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  49. If it does not damage the dog in health or bring other illness in to the dog breed, I do not mind at all, if people are crazy and want to pay a lot for a Zebra pug, they have to much money anyhow. Let me remind you all nearly all dogbreed come from the wolf and nearly none of theme look like one, all dog breed are human manipulated to the breed they are to day. !!

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  50. Love the comments on this post, just wondering do they feed the stripey puglets on spaghetti from the spaghetti tree? :-)

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  51. love the photoshop in this image, did it take about 10 minutes?

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  52. Those breeds should be illegal, not because they're transgenic, but because those poor animals are unable to breathe decently during all their lives and they suffer a lot. Only animal abusers breed brachycephalic pets.

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