What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super out-going people

What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super out-going people


Did humans breed dogs to be friendly? Compared with wolves, dogs are hyper-social– they go out of their way to seek attention
and affection from others, particularly humans. But dogs aren’t the only ones who are predisposed
towards being friendly. There does seem to be a genetic component
to sociability in people — Humans with Williams-Beuren Syndrome are also
known to be hypersocial, with affected children often running up and
hugging people at random. Scientists were curious if this same genes
involved in WBS are also involved in sociability in dogs. To find out, researchers tested 18 dogs and
10 wolves for traits related to sociability with humans. In one experiment, a person sat in the middle
of an enclosure, while either dogs or wolves were nearby. During the 8 minutes of testing, the dogs
spent 53 percent of their time within close proximity of the unfamiliar human. The wolves were loners, only walking by the
unknown person 35 percent of the time. It turns out that canine chromosome 6 appears
to have a section analogous to the genes in humans that, when absent, cause Williams-Beuren
Syndrome. Peering into the gene data, scientists saw
that hypersocial dogs had more DNA disruptions in this region than the more aloof wolves, The researchers say that while individual
experience is equally important to genetics when it comes to sociability, the findings suggest that the genes in question may have contributed to the rapid domestication of dogs. And show that ancient genetic engineering
may be one reason why your pooch loves to see you come home every day.

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