Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Dog behaviors like aggression and fearfulness are linked to breed genetics

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A dog’s ability to learn new tricks may be less a product of your extensive training than their underlying genetics. In a study done among 101 dog breeds, scientists recently found that certain behavioral traits such as train ability or aggression were more likely to be shared by genetically similar breeds. While others have looked into the genetic underpinnings of dog behaviors for certain breeds, this study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in October 2019 is the first to investigate a wide variety of dog breeds and find a strong genetic signal .

Using data from over 14,000 dogs described in C-BARQ, the researchers gave each breed a score for 14 different behaviors and then searched for overall genetic similarities among breeds that had similar scores. In summary , energy level and fearfulness showed a smaller genetic contribution, about 50 percent, suggesting that differences in environment or training play an equally important role in shaping those behaviors.

This was definitely an interesting article to read . Although this study does not show how a genetic variant causes a specific behavior , it points to certain statistics that might later lead us to such. It is interesting to see how Dogs are a really powerful system to investigate the genetics of traits and diseases because generations of domestication and breeding have simplified their genomes.

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