A dingo isn’t an animal that you’d think would win the title of the ‘World’s Most Interesting Genome’, but that’s exactly what happened thanks to a competition held by the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Sandy, who is two years old, won the prestigious title and beat out a whole bunch of other animals, including a pink pigeon and a solar-powered sea slug.
Although those animals might sound awesome and should totally have the title, the UNSW competition was focusing on what’s inside of the animals instead of their cool exteriors. The competition was about the most interesting genomes, which is any organisms’ complete set of genetic instructions.
Every living thing has cells in it and within each cell, there are genomes. The reason as to why Sandy won is because she’s a pure bred dingo, which is a rarity within the animal world now. This is because so many dingos have been bred with dogs since their introduction to the Australian landscape over 5000 years ago.
Naturally, UNSW are stoked that they’ve managed to find a pure bred dingo that’s so young. You can see the excitement in the project leader, Professor Bill Ballard’s, statement below:
“Sandy is truly a gift to science. As a rare, wild-born pure dingo, she provides a unique case study. Pure dingoes are intermediate between wild wolves and domestic dogs, with a range of non-domesticated traits. So sequencing Sandy’s genome will help pinpoint some of the genes for temperament and behaviour that underlie the transition from wild animals to perfect pets.”
AWESOME. Why the sudden focus on dingos though? Naturally, Ballard has an answer for that as well:
“Learning more about dingo genetics will help efforts to conserve these wonderful Australian animals, through the development of improved tests for dingo purity,” he said.
Gotta love conservation efforts. Go Sandy and her genomes! How cool is science!