Researcher Bridgett vonHoldt, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and her colleagues found genes in dogs that are like human genes that have been linked to a hyper-sociability disorder called Williams-Beuren syndrome. It was determined that the canine versions are connected to sociability in dogs.
This data could be useful in the development of genetic tests that can indicate at an early age whether a pup would make a good service dog, and may also help pet owners make health decisions. Genetic screening tests for dogs are already on the market, so it could easily be added to an existing one.
“These gene mutations are always found in dogs and wolves that demonstrate human-directed social behavior,” said vonHoldt.
Source: Princeton University