Balto and his owner Gunnar Kasson in 1925. Credit: Photo courtesy of Cleveland Public Library/Photo Collection

Do you recall the story of Balt? In 1925, the town of Nome, Alaska was faced with an outbreak of diphtheria. Balto was a sled dog and a extremely excellent boy who helped provide life-saving medicine to people today in town. Balto’s twisted story has been told numerous instances, such as a 1990s animated film in which Kevin Bacon voiced the legendary dog.

But final month, scientists found a new side to Balto. They sequenced his genes and found that the sled dog was not rather what they anticipated. A study published in the journal science, was portion of a project named Zoonomia, which aims to improved realize the evolution of mammals, such as our personal genome, by searching at the genes of other animals – from narwhals to aardvarks.

Guest host Flora Lichtman talks with Dr. Elinor Carlson, associate professor of bioinformatics and integrative biology at UMass Chan College of Medicine and director of Vertebrate Genomics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Dr. Katie Moon, a postdoctoral researcher who led Balt’s study and Dr. Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, who co-authored the new Balto study and other operate that identified animals most probably to face extinction.

Added reading

Donate to Science Friday

Invest in high quality science journalism by donating to Science Friday.


By Editor

Leave a Reply