MAY 24, 2019 7:30 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
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
SEP 19, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
CGP: Simplifying the path from tumor to treatment
SEP 19, 2022
CGP: Simplifying the path from tumor to treatment
The promise of NGS in personalized cancer care For years, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has enabled oncologists to id ...
SEP 27, 2022
Neuroscience
How the Lactate Receptor is Related to Brain Injury in Newborns
SEP 27, 2022
How the Lactate Receptor is Related to Brain Injury in Newborns
Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, which occurs when the brain's supply of oxygen and blood is blocked for a period of time, ...
OCT 11, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Revealing the Genome Carried by the Common Ancestor to all Mammals
OCT 11, 2022
Revealing the Genome Carried by the Common Ancestor to all Mammals
Every mammal that is found on our planet is descended from one common ancestor, thought to have lived around 180 million ...
NOV 12, 2022
Earth & The Environment
45,000-Year-Old Human DNA Divulges Human Evolution Secrets
NOV 12, 2022
45,000-Year-Old Human DNA Divulges Human Evolution Secrets
In a recent study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, an international team of researchers led by the Universit ...
NOV 15, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Revealing the Mutations that Make Melanoma Immortal
NOV 15, 2022
Revealing the Mutations that Make Melanoma Immortal
Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes, preventing breakage. Some cancer cells can use those protective caps to their adv ...
DEC 01, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
No more manual library preps!
DEC 01, 2022
No more manual library preps!
BioQuleTM NGS System - Say ‘goodbye’ to manual library prepping and ‘hello’ to generating librar ...
Loading Comments...