Hefty Labrador Retrievers Could Help Fight Obesity
Research published in Cell Metabolism indicates that there's a genetic reason Labrador retrievers are often more obese than other dogs. (And no, it's not just because -- as their owners are well aware -- that Labs love to eat.)
Knowing that dog owners who control their pets' diets and are diligent about making sure their dogs get exercise sometimes still see their pets easily gain weight, a team at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., set out to examine genes related to obesity in humans. The results pointed to a modification in a particular gene in the study's test group of dogs.
This modification in Labrador and flat-coat retrievers, the scientists believe, means the dogs are unable to produce substances usually involved in "turning off" hunger after a meal. In other words, the dogs keep eating. And according to a senior author on the study, a very small number of obese people are missing a similar part of the same gene as the canines.
The study, meanwhile, could point the way toward possible treatments for people with obesity.