Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

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CapriciousCeilican
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Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

Post by CapriciousCeilican » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:06 am

Why don't wolves have pink noses/paw pads, and what evolutionary advantage does black flesh offer over pink?

Is there a documented case of it happening?

Is black flesh dominant over pink in dogs as well as wolves and why?

And finally, what causes the mutation to occur, both in the DNA and in scenarios? (Inbreeding, freak chance, a dollop of fairy dust?)

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Re: Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

Post by Isela » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:31 pm

Having a lighter (in this case pink) coloration indicates a lack of pigmentation within the skin. The darker the color, the more pigments there are. It's no different than the diverse skin colorations of humans.

However, pink noses and paw pads are specifically a dog trait. It depends on the coloration of the dog (lighter colored dogs are more likely to be born with pink noses/paw pads).
This is a good source for learning more about pigmentation within dog breeds: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/noses.html

The lack of pigmentation can also be a result of a disease that causes the area to not produce any pigmentation, or as a result from injury. It's not impossible for a wolf to have a pink nose (in fact it has been recorded). Simply Google "wolf with pink nose" under images and the first few images will show wolves displaying pink nose. Err on the side of caution with this though, because wolf-dog hybrids can also display a lack of pigmentation on their noses. Wolves are rarely born with pink noses or paw pads. If they are, it's most likely due to a genetic mutation. To quote wolf-sanctuary.com:

Wolf & high % Wolfdog pups rarely have pink noses, or pink foot pads. They will not have white toe nails. However ARCTIC Wolf pups will have Taupe or an off white toe nail. The pink pigment is a recessive Dog gene that can surface in higher % Wolf Dogs.


Source: https://wolf-sanctuary.com/education
(Under "Phenotyping")

It could be that the evolutionary benefit to this is that darker skin is less susceptible to sun burns. The lighter the skin, the higher chance of getting burned is. This is why humans possessing a darker skin tone are native to hotter climate areas.
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Re: Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

Post by CapriciousCeilican » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:51 am

I did actually Google image search it before posting, but I'm always skeptical of photo manipulation. Do you happen to know where the pink nosed wolf from the first image is kept or if it's still living?

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Re: Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

Post by Polynesia » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:42 pm

The people on the website where the first image is found (the one you're asking about) seem to agree that the wolf's nose was originally black (you can see the dark edges around and inside its nose), and that the dark pigment was worn away. There is nothing on where the wolf is kept, but it does look to be a pure wolf. (:

From an evolutionary perspective, the advantages I know of is that dark skin is protected against ultraviolet radiation, but I don't think this is significant to wolves considering how most of them live in the north. But dark skin is better at absorbing heat, which is why polar bears have black skin underneath their fur. If most wolves live in the north, then most wolves should have dark pigment underneath their fur, which may affect the colour of their noses. (Don't quote me on that..) The advantage of pale skin is a deeper vitamin D absorption, but since we're talking about the wolf's nose and paw pads (its nose has a small surface area and its paw pads are turned away from the sun) it's also not significant to the wolf's survival.
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Re: Pink Flesh? (Genetics Question)

Post by CapriciousCeilican » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:28 am

I remember reading also that Arctic wolves have darker underfur than their white top coat, probably for the same reason as polar bears. http://homepage.usask.ca/~schmutz/WolfC ... etics.html I was looking for what also determines wolf coat colors, but that seems a lot more complex than flesh, so I noped out of that topic xD

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