Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Possible DNA tests to predict dog's health and behavior.

German Shepherds with a specific variation in a gene connected to the production of dopamine and norepinephrine are better at executing "down" and "stay" commands.
Jan 17, 2012. Science -- Researchers gave 104 of the dogs the lie-down-and-be-calm test, and three other behavioral exams, all designed to assess the dogs' ability to control their impulses. The 37 German Shepherds with a shortened version of the gene had the most trouble controlling their impulsive behaviors, regardless of their sex, age, or training. But the dogs with long versions of the gene, such as the one in the photo, passed the impulse-tests with the calm of Zen master.
A large part of such research can be probably crowdsorced.

On a related topic, the ever popular Golden Retrievers are becoming - just like people - more disease-prone due to inbreeding. 
The study shows the power of using dog genetics to learn more about human diseases, says Heidi Parker, a geneticist at the Dog Genome Project of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. "When the researchers compared genetically similar dogs with disease to healthy ones, the single mutation stood out beautifully," she says. "You couldn't get such a clear result by testing a few unrelated families from different countries."
Once DNA tests get under the $100 threshold, it'll be cost effective to pick up a puppy based on a test rather than breeder's advice.

tags: health, biology, control, detection

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