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St. Bernard Study Shows Human-directed Evolution At Work 

ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2007) The St Bernard dog named after the 11th century priest Bernard of Menthon is living proof that evolution does occur, say scientists. 

Biologists at The University of Manchester say that changes to the shape of the breeds head over the years can only be explained through human-directed evolution through selective breeding, an artificial version of natural selection. 

The team, led by Dr Chris Klingenberg in the Faculty of Life Sciences, examined the skulls of 47 St Bernards spanning 120 years, from modern examples to those of dogs dating back to the time when the breed standard was first defined. 

"We discovered that features stipulated in the breed standard of the St Bernard became more exaggerated over time as breeders selected dogs that had the desired physical attributes," said Dr Klingenberg. 

"In effect they have applied selection to move the evolutionary process a considerable way forward, providing a unique opportunity to observe sustained evolutionary change under known selective pressures."

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, are based on studies of St Bernard skulls donated by Swiss breeders to the Natural History Museum in Berne. 

Compared to their ancestors, modern St Bernards have broader skulls, while the angle between the nose and the forehead is steeper in modern dogs and they have also developed a more pronounced ridge above the eyes. 

"These changes are exactly in those features described as desirable in the breed standards. They are clearly not due to other factors such as general growth and they provide the animal with no physical advantage, so we can be confident that they have evolved purely through the selective considerations of breeders. 

"Creationism is the belief that all living organisms were created according to Genesis in six days by 'intelligent design' and rejects the scientific theories of natural selection and evolution. 

"But this research once again demonstrates how selection -- whether natural or, in this case, artificially influenced by man -- is the fundamental driving force behind the evolution of life on the planet." 

The research was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024083652.htm

Iran's First Transgenic Goats Produced in Royan Institute 

Source: Royan Institute February 24, 2010 

Iran and Middle East's first transgenic goats which can produce recombinant proteins for treatment of Hemophilia were born on January 9, 2010 at Royan Institute. Royan TGF91 and Royan TGF92 Shangoul" and "Mangoul"

During a news conference on Saturday, Jan. 30th, Hamid Gourabi, the head of Royan Institute said: Following 3 years of research on transgenic animals, the institute has succeeded in producing of two transgenic goats containing coagulation factor IX in their milk which is an important drug using in treatment of hemophilia patients.

Transgenic animal is defined as one that has undergone a modification in its genome. The main purpose of producing transgenic animals is to produce animals that contain the gene for secretion of some proteins in their milk which can be used in treatment of human diseases. 

Transgenic goats, cows, sheeps and pigs are already produced in USA, France, UK, Japan, Denmark, Canada, Scotland, Netherlands and China to extract tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), α-Antitrypsin, coagulation factor IIX, fibrinogen, α-Lactalbumin, human serum albumin, collagen type I/II and monoclonal antibodies from their milk.

Gourabi notified that producing drugs in transgenic livestock milk is an economical and cost benefit method since the expenses are much less than producing the same drugs in laboratory by tissue culture methods. 

Scientists who were cooperating in this project explained the procedure:
Hemophilia is an X-linked disorder causing by deficiency of coagulation factor IX, which is commonly produced in liver. In this project we tried to produce this protein by transferring the related gene from human liver cells to the goat embryonic fibroblasts. The embryos were then transferred to the recipient goats. Different tests such as PCR have confirmed that the goats born from these embryos contain the gene in their cells and can secrete the protein in their milk. 

Upon the completion of Royan Institute's project on transgenic animals, Iran is expected to take an effective step for mass production of factor IX and other thrombolytics so as to increase its affordability for patients.

In 2006, Royan Institute produced the Iran and Middle East's first cloned lamb named Royana, and then in 2009, Hanna, the first cloned goat was born. Bonyana and Tamina were also first cloned calves produced in Royan Institute in 2009 and  died due to an infectious disease in a couple of days.  

Royan TGF91 and Royan TGF92, the two transgenic goats were also named "Shangoul" and "Mangoul", names of the two leading characters of an Iranian traditional children story. They are now in a good health condition.

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