Dog Ownership Can Be Linked To Genes

The option to own a dog has a powerful genetic factor, in light of a new research. An analysis of more than 35,000 pairs of twins from Sweden investigated the degree to which individuals genetic makeup correlate to whether or not they possessed a dog.

The investigators, who are from Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, and the University of Liverpool, in the United Kingdom, got to know that genetic dissimilarities could clarify more than 50% of the difference in dog ownership. It also looks like the impact of genes on the choice to own a dog is powerful in women than in men.

In a latest Scientific Reports paper, in the study, the researchers calculate roughly the genetic factors to dog ownership are 57% in females and 51% in males.

The lead study author Tove Fall, Ph.D., a professor of molecular epidemiology at Uppsala University says he was astonished to see that a person’s genetic makeup becomes visible to be a notable influence in the choice to own a dog. She also adds that maybe some individuals have a high level in-born tendency to look after a pet than others.

Humans and dogs have a long past

In the research paper, the analysts describe that, while the emergence of the domestic dog is still a topic of strong conflict, there is no uncertainty “pre-farming, hunter-gatherer societies” made a lot of use of domesticated canines.

Humans commenced to use dogs to accommodate them with hunting and herding, and also for protection. In this era, dogs don’t just provide companionship, but they also help in various settings, from prison rehabilitation to post-surgery care.

Decades of archeological investigation has helped us create a better outlook of where and when dogs come into the human world as stated by study co-author Keith Dobney, Ph.D., a zoo archaeologist and professor at the University of Liverpool. Now, by combining “modern and ancient genetic data” scientists are able to directly examine why and how.

He and his mates cite various studies that have examined the relation between dog owernership and human health.

These indicate, for example, that those who have dogs exercise more, feel less lonely and also have an enhanced view on well-being. This is mostly with cases of elderly people who are on their own.

Untwining the contribution of genes

Nevertheless, what is vague from before studies is if health dissimilarities between dog owners and non-dog owners reflect impacts of dog ownership itself or basic known differences in personality, health and genetics.

These show, for example, that people who own dogs exercise more, experience less loneliness, “and have an improved perception of well-being.” This is particularly the case with older people and those who live alone.

The benefits of choosing a Swedish population to examine the genetics of this question is that Sweden has the biggest twin cohort for this type of research in the world, and all dog ownership in Sweden has to be recorded.

Genes mostly influence dog ownership

Utilizing statistical apparatus, the researchers examined the data to roughly calculate the degree to which genetics, shared environment and non-shared environment can provide to dog ownership.

It was known that twins who both owned dogs in older ages were possibly likely to be identical than non-identical, advising that genetics was really a powerful factor in dog ownership.

Furthermore, they suggest researchers to think about genetic variation as a factor when examining the effect of pet ownership on human well-being.

“The study has finest implication for comprehending the deep and enigmatic history of dog domestication”, states Prof Keith Dobney, Ph. D.