Can Golden Retrievers Live Longer?

golden retreivers
UC Davis researchers have found a gene associated with longevity in Golden Retrievers, one of the most popular breeds of dogs. (Jessica Hecock)

Can Golden Retrievers Live Longer?

UC Davis Researchers Find Gene Associated With Longevity in the Breed

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs. But research shows they have up to a 65% chance of dying from cancer.  In a new study, University of California, Davis, researchers set out to find if certain genetic factors could help their survival rate. But instead of searching for genes associated with a cancer diagnosis in the breed, they instead chose to look for genes associated with longer life.

The gene they found is in a family of proteins long known to be important in human cancers. Specific versions or variants of the gene were associated with an increased lifespan of nearly two years. The study was published in the journal GeroScience.

“We assume that the majority of golden retrievers have a genetic predisposition to cancer, but if some of them are living to be 14, 15 or 16, we thought there could be another genetic factor that is helping to mitigate the bad genes, and the gene that popped out for us is HER4,” said co-corresponding author Robert Rebhun, Maxine Adler Endowed Chair in oncology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Read full news release from UC Davis News

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