29 December 2006

Sick in the Genome

From the nation that brought you whaleburgers:

The breeder told Mr. Sasaki that he had bred a dog with three generations of offspring — in human terms, first with its daughter, then a granddaughter and then a great-granddaughter — until Keika was born. The other four puppies in the litter were so hideously deformed that they were killed right after birth.

(Via Boing Boing.)


Bill Hooker said...

It may be taken further in Japan than in the West (though I rather doubt that), but how do people think their darling purebred Fluffy-Wuffy came into being in the first place? The majority of modern dog breeds were created to match someone's aesthetic whim -- and yes, a great deal of inbreeding and killing off the defectives went into Fluffy's ancestry.

The canine genome is particularly plastic, but that doesn't mean it should be seen as a tinker-toy for the idle rich.

Glyn Moody said...

Sure, and I've written about the non-optional "sacrifices" dogs have made for us before.

But the article did state that a particular deformity was four times more common in Japan than in the US, and it also offered various comments on the specifically Japanese culture that encourages unscrupulous dealers "who see dogs as nothing more than an industrial product to make quick money" as the article put it.

I also meant that we should take this as a warning of what can go wrong when people have the ability - as well as the inclination - to implement "eugenics" - even if the results are hardly "eu".