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Why Dogs Are Man's Best Friend, Genetics Explain

First Posted: Sep 30, 2016 06:10 AM EDT

Have you ever wondered why it seems so natural for dogs to be man's best friend? Scientists explained that it has something to do with their genes.

A recent research finding concludes that dogs are genetically predisposed to seek human companion. The research published in Scientific Reports, was able to deduce it by analyzing behavioral patterns of dogs and certain sequences in their DNA.

Co-author of the research Per Jensen from Linköping University in Sweden said as quoted by The Guardian, "[Our aim] is to try to understand the genetic underpinnings of domestication: what is it that has helped to turn the wolf, which is really not interested in humans to start off with, into this extremely sociable creature which is the dog?" 

The behavioral experiment was conducted by studying 437 laboratory bred beagles. The dogs were presented with similar task of retrieving a treat covered in transparent four lids with one movable lid. Some of the dogs tend to seek help from a human instead of resolving the problem on their own. The frequency and time of success in doing the task were observed. Then the upper 95 dogs which performed the greatest and 95 dogs which performed the least were sampled to compare their genetic sequences.

As it turns out, there were two genomic regions that appears to be correlated to dog-human interaction. According to Per Jensen, the new findings in the dog's behavior is heavily linked in 5 genes. Four out of the 5 genes were also linked with increased risk of social disorders in humans. However, they were not able to establish evidences explaining this uncanny association. The researchers will be trying to dig further evidences how and why these genes associated to social disorders like ADHD and autism is found in domesticated dogs.

This research was published in Scientific Reports section of Nature.

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