Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Buzz: You say dogs can't adapt? Want Tibet?

A heavy coat of fur isn´t the only thing that makes this Tibetan Mastiff well-suited for cold temperatures. (iStock photo)
A heavy coat of fur isn't the only thing that makes this Tibetan Mastiff well-suited for cold temperatures. (iStock photo)

TIBETAN mastiffs have genetic adaptations that allow them to function with less oxygen at high altitudes. That's important in a dog who hails from "the roof of the world." The discovery was made by a team of scientists who compared sets of genes from 32 Tibetan mastiffs, 20 Chinese native dogs and 14 wolves, seeking variations. Tibetan mastiffs have genes associated with adaptation to high altitudes, including additional blood vessel formation and efficient metabolism so that less oxygen is needed to change food into energy.

* Amber, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saved the life of owner Otis Orth after a snowmobile accident left him lying outdoors at night in below-freezing temperatures, unable to move because of a neck injury and dislocated arms. Amber snuggled next to him, head and paws covering his stomach, helping him to retain body heat. The next day, she alerted passersby to his plight. The 52-year-old Orth, a resident of Trapper Creek, Alaska, credits her with saving his life.

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