MAY 24, 2019 07:30 AM PDT

Why Do you Have a Dog? It Could be Genetic

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Whether you are a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person’ has been thought to be personal choice. However, recent research suggests that there may be a genetic factor to consider if you prefer dogs.

Previous research has shown that exposure to dogs throughout childhood increases a person’s chance of a preference for dogs. Although these findings may make common sense, researchers were nevertheless left wondering how much genetics could also be a contributing factor.

To find out, they conducted a twin study. By studying genetic and behavioural data from people who definitively share their entire genome (monozygotic twins) or 50% of their genome (dizygotic twins), researchers are able to see whether certain behaviours have environmental or genetic roots.

Thus, for this study, they analyzed data from over 85,000 twins in the world’s largest twin registry- the Swedish Twin Registry. As Sweden requires all dogs to be registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, they then compared this data with data for dog ownership. Of the twins researched, 8,503 of them owned dogs.

WIth these findings, they then set up computer models to identify whether genetic or environmental factors had more of an influence on dog ownership. In doing so, they found that genetics were slightly more predictive of adult dog ownership than the environment. They found that a person’s genetics were able to predict 57% of the likelihood of dog ownership in women, and 51% in men.

Although the study didn’t identify the particular genes that are responsible for a preference towards dogs, it did nevertheless demonstrate that genetics play as strong a role in it as one’s environment. Thus, the next step for this research is to try to identify the genetic variants that contribute to this preference, and how they relate to personality traits and other factors such as allergies.

To conclude, a Swedish twin study of 8,503 dog owners has shown that genetics contribute to more than half of a person’s chance of owning dogs. Further research however is needed to confirm which genes are responsible for this preference, and how they interact with other factors such as one's personality and allergies.

 

Sources:

Live Science 

Biotechniques

 

About the Author
  • Annie graduated from University College London and began traveling the world. She is currently a writer with keen interests in genetics, psychology and neuroscience; her current focus on the interplay between these fields to understand how to create meaningful interactions and environments.
You May Also Like
JAN 17, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 17, 2020
FDA Approves New Drug for Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease affects approximately 100,000 Americans. Currently, the only available cure for the disease is a costly bone marrow transplant, putting...
JAN 17, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 17, 2020
Hiccups Key For Infant Brain Development
Although we know how we hiccup, why has remained a mystery for some time, with researchers suggesting it to be an evolutionary hangover from when our ances...
JAN 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 17, 2020
New Tool Rapidly Detects Unintended Gene Changes from CRISPR
CRISPR is one of the most promising technologies under development to treat deadly inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. No...
JAN 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 17, 2020
Finding a Way to Treat Dangerous Protein Aggregates
The scientists are hopeful that this work will lead to new therapeutics for neurodegenerative disease....
JAN 17, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 17, 2020
Ocean Microbes Demonstrate an Evolutionary Principle in Action
Our world is teeming with bacteria and viruses, and in the oceans, their coexistence has them locked in an evolutionary battle....
JAN 17, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 17, 2020
A Molecular Switch for Modulating Gene Therapy Doses
  Genetic errors cause many different kinds of diseases, and gene therapy has aimed to relieve those symptoms by addressing the root cause....
Loading Comments...