Canine brain wiring influenced by human-driven breeding practices
NIH findings may help researchers understand how genomic variation can affect behavioral differences in humans
National Institutes of Health researchers have shown that areas of the genome related to brain development harbor variants that may account for behavioral differences among different dog lineages. The study, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and published in the journal Cell, involved citizen science projects that used DNA samples and surveys collected from dog owners around the world.
The researchers found that the genomic differences among dog breeds are related to the development of their nervous system. For dogs that herd sheep, the genomic differences involve how brain nerve cells, known as neurons, organize themselves to form neural circuits during the early stages of development.
Some of the genes associated with the different dog lineages may relate to genes that are involved in behavior of other species such as humans. These results suggest that dogs and humans may have similar biological pathways that give rise to the range of differences in brain function and behavior found within a species.
This page was last updated on Thursday, December 8, 2022