HERE’S WHY DOGS CAN BE DOMESTICATED EASILY
Ever wondered why dogs and wolves are similar, and what makes them so different? Well, there is new research on the subject. The findings of a study offers new insights into how dogs became domesticated and split paths from their wolf ancestors thousands of years ago.
Researchers studied 18 domesticated dogs and 10 captive grey wolves. They were given the task of lifting a puzzle box lid to get a sausage treat. The wolves were more likely to figure out how to get the treat than dogs. The dogs were assessed on how often they looked to the humans for help. While the wolves got the sausage, the dogs kept staring at the nearby humans, in the hope of getting some help.
Then, the researchers took blood samples to see how the wolves’ and dogs’ genetic traits lined up with their personalities. They found variations in two genes -— GTF2I and GTF2IRD1 — which “appeared to be connected to dog hyper sociability, a core element of domestication that distinguishes them from wolves,” said the report.
“We haven’t found a ‘social gene,’ but rather an important [genetic] component that shapes animal personality and assisted the process of domesticating a wild wolf into a tame dog,” said Bridgett Von Holdt, assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, USA.