HERE’S WHY DOGS CAN BE DO­MES­TI­CATED EAS­ILY

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - — Re­laxnews

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.

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