Macrogenes and the Dog

The Asp Count Macrogene and the Dog

A group of scientists led by Jacquelyn Bond and Emma Roberts of the University of Leeds in the U.K. first identified the asp count macrogene in 2002 and wrote about it in this article, which you can download as a PDF. A very good summary of their research with a lot of background details can be found here.

DNA_macrogene_pageThe summary is how I found out about the gene. I still can hardly understand what they are trying to say in the article. The geneticists who understand what they are talking about want to know those boring detains, but I will explain how it pertains to the dog below.

The gene has a common type of repeated DNA sequence that codes a common type of repeated protein sequence called an IQ domain. The number of these so called repeated IQ domains on the asp gene, according to the theory propose here, actually determine which of the seven sizes of the dog a pup will grow up to be. Therefore, the asp gene of the Toy Chihuahua has one more repeated sequence than the asp gene of the Teacup Chihuahua, and the Chihuahua Club of America is just going to have to face the fact if and when some geneticist determines that there actually is a Teacup and a Toy Chihuahua. The scientist do not tell you that the asp gene determines the different size varieties  of the dog in the article, nor are you told that in the summary. I am telling you that because I found out on some website that IQ domains can bind with DNA. Try Googling calmodulin binding IQ domains and DNA.

I had figured out before the article was published that repeated sequences on a gene determined the different sizes of the dog. Therefore, when I first read the summary, I was petty sure that they had found the right gene.

However, it was only in June 2015 that I decided to research IQ domains and found out that they can bind with DNA. The only logical way that makes mathematical sense for the repeated IQ domains on the protein on this gene to do what it does in humans, mice, and a little fruit fly is for it to also bind with DNA to remove one repeated sequence from the gene that codes it during each time one cell divided into two during growth of mammals.

The Pawson Lab studies these types of protein structures. The IQ domain is the fifth one from the top of the second column on the right side on this webpage. If you click on the symbol for the IQ domain, you get to this webpage, which gives some details on one of these repeated protein sequences and has a video showing their depiction of the molecular structure as it turn back and forth on the axis of the backbone of the domain. It is obvious tome that these repeated structures are pieced together by connecting one backbone directly to the next.

This is worth repeating, the most logical way for any gene to determine the seven sizes of the dog with weight doubling from one to the next is for it to bind with the gene that codes it to remove one repeated sequence when every cell in the organs of mammals divides during growth. That way, if one more sequence is added onto the gene by a mutation, each cell will divide one more time during growth. If such a mutation can double the average number of cells in an interbreeding population of any mammal, it will double its average weight. Therefore, the asp gene keeps an accounting of th number of times each cell divides in each and every different cell line during growth in what is called real time. When the gene removes the last repeated sequence in every cell, the cell is supposed to  stop growing.

Haven and Stocker wrote an article in 2003 where they try to answer the question of how do organs know when to stop growing. They found some answers, but they could not answer their own  question of how a mouse could evolve to be the size of an elephant. It turns out that they tried to answer the wrong question. They should have asked: how does each and every cell in a mammal know when to stop dividing. That decision is biologically made at the cellular level; not at the organ level.

The human version of the asp gene has 74 repeated DNA sequences. There are 61 repeats on the gene of the house mouse. A little fruit fly that scientists study has 24. The best candidate for the gene of a microscopic worm they also study has just 2 repeats. I believe I can convince the scientific community that Ms Bond and Ms Roberts with their team have identified the right gene in the worm by explaining why it should have exactly two repeated sequences. See the About Future Plans section.

The evidence that I uncover that a gene with repeated sequences is required to explain how the cerebral cortices of mammals are generates in the embryo is hard to explain without going into a lot of boring neuroscientist details. However, as you can see from the repeated sequence explanation above, the more repeated sequences, the heavier the species will be. That is not a statistical accident according to my theory. It is n fact is the reason why the weight as well as the weight range doubles from one size to the next in the dog.

Cerebral Cortex

In my first scientific paper, I argue there are two such genes are primarily responsible for the evolution of the cerebral cortex of mammals. The cerebral cortex is part of the brain that allows us to use and understand the written and spoken word and allows terriers to have the instinct to enter the burrows of vermin to try to kill them.

The Number of Repeated Sequences and the Sizes of the Dog

Since giant sized dogs like the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard weigh about the same as humans, my theory says they should also have 74 repeated sequences on their asp count macrogene. Thus, the numbers from 68 to 74 corresponds to the numbers of repeats on each of the seven sizes of the dog.

This assumption of how many repeats the giant size of the dog has allows me to text the hypothesis that the number of repeated sequence on the asp gene double the average weight, since there are 74 repeats on the human version and 61 on the mouse’s. I have constructed the table below to account for the versions of the genes with 68 to 74 repeats with the seven sizes of the dog. Such a version of a gene is called an allele. The 68 allele corresponds to the weight range of 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds as seen in the table below.



I will account for the alleles from 61 for the mouse to 67 in the next paragraph. However, one has to use ounces and then grams in order to do that properly. This is because the next size range down from the sleeve is 5/8 to 1 1/4 pounds.

Therefore, mammals with the 67 and 66 alleles should weigh about 10 to 20 ounces and 5 to 10 ounces, respectively. According to this dwarf hamster blog, Syrian hamsters weigh 5 to 7 ounces—so they fit into the 66 repeated sequence slot. The same blogger says dwarf hamsters weigh 1 ounce to 2 ounces, or about 30 to 60 grams). Therefore, dwarf hamsters should have 64 repeated sequences on the gene. There could be another species of hamster that fits  into the 2 1/2 to 5 ounce size, which would have 65 repeated sequences, which is skipped in this accounting. The 15 to 30 gram slot should have 63 repeats and the 7 to 15 should have 62. According to Rachelle Strom, in her dissertation, various sub-species of the house mouse average about 12 to 16 grams, which—as mentioned above—Jaquelyn Bond and Emma Roberts and their team say have 61 instead of the predicted 62 repeated sequences presumed by this accounting.

I could quip that this is good enough for government work, but scientists have a different standard.   The geneticist will have to find the asp genes in dog and sequence them in the various size varieties on the different breeds like the Teacup and Toy Chihuahua.

It may be the difference between the observed 61 allele in the mouse and the predicted 62 allele in accounting above is caused by the fact that we stand up on our legs and use our hands to do thing, while dogs and mice stand on their four legs. Thus, the bones and the muscles in our legs take up a larger proportion of our body weight than they do in the dog. This might result in the largest size of the dog having 73 repeats on its asp gene.

Elaine Ostrander of the Ostrander Lab claims her team have found the gene that determines size in the dog. So they may already have found the asp gene in the dog or they may have found one of the many genes that code the repeated protein structures, which according to my theory determines why Pomeranians weigh less than the Pekinese despite the fact that both breeds are the same biological size. There are undoubtedly hundreds of these genes required to explain the diversity of the body structure found in the dog.

Therefore, the fate of the theory propose here is in the capable hands Dr. Ostrander and the others at Ostrander Lab. They should eventually be able to find the asp gene in the dog so we will know whether the theory discussed in my scientific paper is correct.

However, the asp gene may be found in the macaque monkey before it is found in the dog as discussed on the Home page where I predict the number of repeats on its gene based on my hypothesis that there are at least two sizes of it. The macaque’s  genome has also been decoded like the dog. It could also be found first in the horse where there are also multiple sizes

The s count of macaque has been experimentally determined to be 28 or more. Therefore, the s count macrogene may be found on the macaque before the asp count macrogene is found. I have shown in my scientific paper that there are multiple s count on various different mice strains. So, the s count macrogene may be found on the mouse first.  I can predict the s counts of the various sizes of the macaque, which provides another test. See the About Future Plans section.

How Repeated Sequences Determine the Size of The Dog

Also according to my theory, if a repeated DNA sequence were to somehow be removed from the asp count macrogene gene of an embryo’s chromosome of the Great Dane when combining the egg and sperm, the pup might express 73 repeated DNA sequences during growth. The pup would therefore have 73 repeats on one version of the gene and 74 on the other since all animals have two copies of each gene.

However, there appears to be a 50-percent chance the pup would actually express the 74 repeated sequences on the gene during growth because a protein coded by what is called a “DNA repair gene” may decide the repeat count fate of such an embryo. If chance determines the pup will express 73 repeated sequences, the result, according to my theory, would be that each cell in every organ that scales with body mass will divide one less time during growth. Since such a Dane would have about exactly half as many cells than it would have if it expressed 74 repeated sequences, the adult dog would weigh exactly half of what it would have weighed otherwise.

I concluded such a repeated sequence would determine the sizes of the dog before the macrogene paper was published. I used the theory I discuss in my first scientific paper to come to the conclusion. Any competent mathematician should have been able to figure out what I did with what I knew as discussed in the paper. When I figured this out, I had a “Eureka moment.”

One of my sisters-in-law had a dog named Gorbachev; “Gorby” for short. She called it a Miniature Schnauzer. So, I reasoned, if there is a Miniature Schnauzer, there must be a Regular Schnauzer, which there is. However, it turned out it is called the “Standard Schnauzer.” Therefore, according to my theory, the Miniature Schnauzer should have about half as many cells as Standard Schnauzers and weigh about half as much. That is apparently one reason why there are seven sizes of the dog in which the weight range doubles from one to the next.

I will explain below why I have included the various size varieties of various breeds in the table below.


Queen Charlotte and Georgie with one of her medium spitz type dogs.
Queen Charlotte and Georgie with one of her medium spitz type dogs.

Today’s Pekinese is the toy size of the Chinese Imperial Ch’in. There apparently still are some miniatures, the 4th largest size, still being bred also. See The Genetics of Size Page for the evidence that it is still bred. Teacup Manchester Terriers as small as 2½ were once produced in the 19th Century, but they had health problems and are no longer produced, according to the AKC’s official history of the breed in “The Complete Dog Book.” I also tell the amazing story of how the miniature Original U.K. Whippet became the medium Modern U.S. Whippet on that page. It is partially told in by Louis Pegram in “The Complete Whippet.” Louis is called the “Dean of American Whippetdom” with the best book on the Whippets, in my opinion. I have more than dozen books on Whippets that hardly compare to his.

Queen Charlotte, Queen-Consort of King George III of England brought two Pomeranians to England. As you may remember from history class, a tea party was once given in George’s honor on a dock in Boston Harbor. Since the Queen had two spitz type dogs from Pomerania, others had to have them also. However, some of those brought in also carried the miniature allele of 71 repeated DNA sequences according to my calculations. Therefore, some miniature size Poms started showing up in some of the litters in the U.K.

According to dog experts Bonnie Wilcox and Chris Walkowicz in The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World,  some breeders thought these miniatures were runts, so they got rid of them. Since a dam is fertile for a number of days, they sometimes produce litters from more than one mating, which sometimes occurs days apart. Therefore, the pups from the first litter will be carried to term, while those from the latter will be premature. Such preemies are celled runts and are often gotten rid of. However, according to the above two expert dog historians, some breeders kept them and found they became miniature copies of their parents. However, Bonnie and Chris do not try to explain why this happened but they understand enough about dogs that they knew this was unusual, so they reported it. This is just one example of why they wrote what I consider the best book on the history of the dog that I own,

Queen Victoria with one of her medium spitz type of dogs.
Queen Victoria with one of her medium spitz type of dogs.

By the time Queen Victoria brought back her 12-pound miniature Pom from Italy, which she named Windsor’s)Marco,” the miniatures were already prevalent the U.K. When she entered her dog in the show ring, they became a sensation. However, there were toy sized spitz dogs in Germany that must have somehow made their way to Britain and the U.S. because people wanted the smallest Poms. The Pom is a member of the spitz family of dogs. There is a Spitz breed of the Spitz family in Germany that has multiple sizes. The smallest two are celled the Klein and Mittel.

Queen Charlotte’s Pom was the Standard size variety and Queen Victoria’s was the Mittel, or Middle, size variety. Two size classes began to compete in the show rings of both the U.S. and U.K. As you can see from the table above, knowledgeable breeders placed the boundary at 7 pounds to ensure their Pom pups had 70 repeated DNA sequences. Today, Poms weigh 3 1/2 to 7 pounds. However, knowledgeable breeders learned that any true toy size dog who weighs less than 4.0 pounds has a greater chance of having poor health than those weighing 4.0 pounds or more, which is why Poms in the 4 to 6 pound range are preferred in the show ring.

In the mid-20th Century, when the larger 71 allele size class in the U.S. was dropped from the Pom’s breed standard because of lack of interest, some of the white Pom spitzes became Miniature American Eskimo Dogs. However, some of these white miniatures also carried the 70 toy allele. Therefore, there is now a Toy Eskie as explained on my The Genetics of Size page.