Although dogs come in many sizes, scientists have found some specific genetic markers for small dogs. A recent survey of these markers across many wild and domesticated dogs seems to have provided some answers for when and where the smaller breeds developed. And what the researchers discovered comes as no surprise in light of biblical history.
In their study published in the online journal BMC Biology, four researchers led by UCLA’s Melissa Gray found that the same genetic markers for small dogs are found both in domesticated dogs and “in Middle Eastern gray wolves.”1 Since there are so many modern varieties among small domestic dogs, it is apparent that a wolf with small stature, containing a remarkable inherent potential for variety, was first removed from a larger wolf population thousands of years ago. Afterward, other traits―like snout size and coat texture―were expressed in different descendant breeds. Thus, it appears that early on in the history of domesticated dogs, small dogs were separated out.
“All small dogs possess these diagnostic mutations,” according to the researchers.2 They found that a mobile DNA sequence, called a SINE, had been inserted into a particular place in the genome of small dogs. They also found a characteristic single DNA base change nearby, amidst a growth factor gene. But insisting that either the SINE insert or the base change came about through “mutation” is not scientific, since its origin was not observed. Some single base changes are known to be the result of pre-designed genetic variation, not mutations. Likewise, mobile DNA elements like SINEs probably do not incorporate randomly. If they did, they would insert into vital genes and disrupt them, and this occurs only rarely. Instead, they appear to be parts of a pre-engineered system that generates certain varieties within an animal kind.3
The biological mechanisms that generate variation within the dog kind are not all mutational, but appear well-designed. For example, using only three different small but strategic genes, 80 different varieties of dog fur texture have been specified among various breeds.4 That appears to be the result of engineering, not undirected genetic change. It makes sense that the Creator would have outfitted creatures with these inherent capacities for variation so that they could fulfill His purpose for them to branch out, multiply, and fill various environments across the earth….
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