But like it or not, the incredible sociability of many - although not all - dogs is universally recognized.
Instead, it attempts to explain a biological mechanism for how dogs evolved through domestication. We associate quantitative data on behavioral phenotypes symptomatic ofWBS in humans with structural changes in the WBS locus in dogs. We analyze a 5-Mb genomic region on chromosome 6 previously found to be under positive selection in domestic dog breeds. Similar genes are present in humans with Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) - a disorder that makes them extremely social, but impairs critical thinking. "We haven't found a 'social gene, ' but rather an important [genetic] component that shapes animal personality and assisted the process of domesticating a wild wolf into a tame dog", she said.
A group led by Bridgett vonHoldt, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University in the United States, has discovered that the genes driving this...
"The genetic basis for the behavioural divergence between dogs and wolves has been poorly understood, especially with regard to dogs' success in human environments".
"Genes can have various variations to them".
Scientists have identified the specific gene that divided domesticated dogs and wolves.. Changes in that gene in mice cause that species to be hypersocial as well.
"Sociability is a complex trait, so it's not just a product of one gene".
In another study by the same team, the researchers also included free-ranging domestic dogs living on the streets of India in the problem-solving tasks, along with wolves and pet dogs. For one test, the dogs and the wolves were tasked with extracting a nice, thick piece of summer sausage from a puzzle box either in front of a person, or alone. "That they have found that this region contributes to sociability in dogs is exciting".
Specifically, the more genetic insertions (called transposons) in the WBSCR affecting a protein called GIF21 seems to be strongly associated with dogs' hypersociability - whereas if they have less of these disruptions, they're more aloof and wolf-like.
Both the dogs and wolves were quick to approach the people, but the wolves tended to wander away after just a few seconds. I mean, they may have started off by using us for food, but it's clear to see that they now love us (and vice versa!). "In many cases they don't even try to get it open". It's a tough life, but some dog's got to do it.
Lauren Brubaker, a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University, interacts with a grey wolf.
The team of researchers looked at 18 dogs and 10 socialised wolves in their genetic analysis. They'll run up, greet them and they'll check them out.
In puzzling out how dogs and our human ancesters first got together, it was thought that humans were attracted to dogs in part due to their ability to discern gesture and voice.
Biologist Adam Boyko from Cornell University told the New York Times that the work is "truly interesting and important", possibly among the first to ever identify certain genetic variants crucial "for turning wolves into dogs".