Nature Journal: Dogs Thrive on Starch-Rich Diet

Nature, an international weekly journal of science, published an article that helps dispel some of the myths around dogs and starches. Many people believe that dogs are strictly carnivorous and should eat like wolves, but science tells us otherwise. After evolving alongside humans for over 10,000 years, dogs have genetic adaptations making them different than wolves, including their increased ability to digest starch (plant-based foods).

The publication indicates:

"...Here we conduct whole-genome resequencing of dogs and wolves to identify 3.8 million genetic variants used to identify 36 genomic regions that probably represent targets for selection during dog domestication. Nineteen of these regions contain genes important in brain function, eight of which belong to nervous system development pathways and potentially underlie behavioural changes central to dog domestication. Ten genes with key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism also show signals of selection. We identify candidate mutations in key genes and provide functional support for an increased starch digestion in dogs relative to wolves..."

It goes on to specifically state that domestic dogs do thrive on starch-rich diets: 

"Our results indicate that novel adaptations allowing the early ancestors of modern dogs to thrive on a diet rich in starch, relative to the carnivorous diet of wolves, constituted a crucial step in the early domestication of dogs."

Read the full publication: "The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet"


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