January 27, 2013

How Dogs Eat Starches

Anthropologist John Hawks notes a paper explaining how dogs—unlike wolves—evolved while living with humans to digest starches. In other words, they eat what we eat.
As in humans, the paper shows that dogs were selected strongly for a new agricultural diet. Just as in humans who descend from early agriculturalists, dogs have extensive duplication of the amylase gene. Humans express amylase in saliva, but as explained in the paper dogs only produce amylase in the pancreas, where it digests starches intestinally. Where this paper gets really exciting is when the authors began to investigate the entire metabolic pathway underlying starch digestion. The amylase gene AMY2B underwent duplications similar to those in humans, and not found in wolves.
Patrick "Terrierman" Burns weighs in:
Sure, you have observed that even the bunko dog food companies that sell food that costs a lot more (using nonsense words like "human-grade," "holistic," "natural" and "homeopathic" ) pack their tins and bags with potatoes and peas, quinoa and rice, pumpkin and whatever else that is not the natural diet of a wolf (i.e. dead mice, dead rats, and road-kill deer).
Dogs, unlike bloggers, do not digest snark, as far as I can tell.

No comments: