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Genes tied to autism could influence human-dog relationships

The roots of our connection to man’s best friend may lie at the genetic level, The Guardian reports. Scientists placed laboratory-raised dogs in a room with a human researcher and plastic containers with treats in them. Two of the containers could be opened easily, but one was designed to not be opened by the dogs. After struggling with it, many of the dogs turned to the human researcher and made eye contact seeking help. Analyzing the DNA of the dogs that were most and least social in the experiment, researchers were able to identify five genes most likely to be associated with dogs’ tendency to seek human interaction. Four of these five genes are actually tied to human social disorders such as autism, according to the study.

 

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