For those new around here, my day job is at a University working on genetic sequencing projects. Part of my daily TODO at work is to keep up on scientific literature, which is a tall task considering how many journals, subjects and specialities, and just sheer volume of data is being published right now. In order to stay on the cutting edge of science, one must read, and read a lot. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give to a younger student or someone just getting interested in science, is to spend an hour or so a day looking for new publications in whatever field interests you.
Anyway, I came across one of the best scientific breakthroughs of our generation, or at least for dog lovers. The long sought-after question of "How do dogs get their curly tail?" now has an answer. It's in their DNA (duh!). Genetics, crazy.
The article published in PLOS Genetics did large scale sequencing project (why this is relevant to me at work) on 100 dogs, from 21 breeds. The results were immense, resulting in 12.4 million data points (called single-nucleotide polymporphisms or SNPs for short). That is quite a lot of data to sift through. My favorite part of the paper though, has to be the figures.
In more serious-analysis, it is actually super fascinating because the paper showed that there is "a common origin of all screw tail breeds (Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers) and shows the bifurcation