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The Genetic Mutation Behind Flat-Nosed Dogs

It's not hard to love all dogs. And one thing to love about them is their adorable faces. Now, a study has found that there is a genetic mutation behind dogs with flat noses which explains their... flat noses!

Something that's mostly common knowledge is that the excessively flat noses of breeds like pugs and bulldogs has resulted from decades of selective breeding. But the exact cause behind the initial pug's or bulldog's nose hasn't been discovered. But a recent new study has unveiled some more information on the genetic mutation behind these pups' adorably smushy faces.

While their smushy faces are adorable, they can also cause health problems. That's why a recent study in Current Biology aimed to find the reason behind their noses. The study analyzed 374 longer-snouted dogs and brachycephalic dogs (that's the fancy name for smushy face) that included 84 AKC breeds and 83 mixed breeds. 

The genetic variations between the breeds revealed a key difference. There is a gene called SMOC2, which plays an important role in cranial development. However, our beloved smushy-faced breeds had a mutation called LINE-1 inside the gene, which stops proper snout development. The mutation is similar to that of fish and mice. 

So, now we have a clue! With an answer to some of the mutation behind smushy-faced noses, it's possible that we'll be able to address it in the future. While we love our pugs and bulldogs, we might be able to help them breathe a little easier in the future.


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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes