Friday, November 22, 2019

A Short Form of a Gene causes Police Dogs to Lose Track of a Person

a white labrador dog wearing a red harness is trotting on a green lawn, its head is lowered as though sniffing the ground

New studies have shown that tracker dogs are able to smell stress. However this sense is more harmful than helpful due to the fact that this sell of fear causes the dog to lose track of the person's scent. Highly trained police dogs perform flawlessly in their training tests, but when it comes to a real world hunt of a person running away from them, the dogs struggle to keep a hold of their scent. This is because people have a specific gene that causes them to be more prone to stress or less prone to stress. This gene is called SLC6A4. This gene allows for fear to change someone's normal scent that they emit. This gene makes a protein that helps move signaling molecules in the nervous system. Scientists have determined that different forms of this gene cause someone to be poor or proficient in handling stress. Those with the longer version of this gene tend to handle stress better than those who have the short form of the gene, who tend to handle stress poorly.

I find this to be extremely interesting and troubling. I have faith in the dogs that are being trained and this discovery concerning the genes is not their fault, but I wish it did not have an effect in bringing somebody to justice.

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