Animal Science in the News

This month, we’re taking a look at animal science in the news. With ongoing research across many different disciplines within the industry and methodology and technology becoming more advanced, we find animal science to be a frequent topic of interest in today’s current events. Read more about recent discoveries and progress in animal science.

Scientists in the UK have solved the mystery of the cause of white patches on the bellies and heads of dogs, cats, and farm animals. The source of the white patches in genetic code had been discovered previously, but the reason for the mutation’s outcome being white fur patches was unclear. The scientists from Bath University and Edinburgh University have developed a mathematical equation that provides an understanding for how the patches occur from the “movement and growth of pigment cells” as animals develop in the womb. The implications of the formula go far beyond explaining fur pigmentation. The researchers believe their mathematical model can help explain other patterns and variations in genes called neurocristopathies, which can cause deafness, gut disorders, heart defects and cancer in humans when cells don’t properly move to the correct locations.

In this article, researchers make arguments that conclude that animals, even our closest relatives the apes, aren’t necessarily capable of abstract thought. The article cites Holly Dunsworth’s Scientific American piece titled “What Animals Know about Where Babies Come From” in which the anthropologist notes that animals do not have “reproductive consciousness” and are not aware of the cause and effect of actions leading to childbirth.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports identifies small chameleons as having the fastest tongues among the species. Researchers in the study found that smallest of the chameleon species are able to project their tongues farther, faster, and with more power than their larger brothers. Researchers found that these chameleons can shoot their tongues out 2.5 times the length of their bodies, farther than the previously estimated 2 times. Additionally, researchers found they can accelerate their tongues at a rate equivalent to going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just a hundredth of a second.

The FDA has verified the safety and environmental sustainability of genetically modified salmon. The salmon, created by AquaBounty Technologies Inc., have been under review processes that have taken roughly 20 years to pass. The genetically modified fish have met some speculation from consumers who don’t trust the safety of GMO food, but the AquaBounty Technologies Inc. FDA verification shows how the future of GMOs will continue to develop.