The genetics of being man's best friend

The genetics of being man's best friend

US scientists believe that friendliness is a dog's natural trait.

Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago.

At present, a research reports that certain genes which enabled dogs to become the sociable creatures that they are have been selected.

This could serve dogs their signature personalities, most especially the desire for human connection.

"Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even)," Dr. Bridgett von Holdt, Princeton University, said.

Researchers investigated the behavior of domestic dogs and grey wolves living in captivity. As a result, wolves are as good as dogs in problem-solving, but dogs are more friendly as they spend more time greeting human strangers and gazing at them.

DNA tests, meanwhile, have discovered a link between definite genetic changes and behaviors, while similar changes in humans are being linked with a rare genetic syndrome.

"This exciting observation highlights the utility of the dog as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows how minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans," Dr. Elaine Ostrander, National Institutes of Health, said in an article found on BBC's website.

Photo by: AlainAudet/ Pixabay