Genetic source of canine aggression identified

If any of your clients are concerned their canines may be predisposed to aggression, a new study suggests that may, in fact, be the case. 

Researchers from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital identified approximately 12 genes common across dog breeds that are associated with a predisposition to aggression toward an owner or a familiar dog versus unfamiliar humans and dogs.

The study was published in BMC Genomics on Aug. 8.

“Our strongest focus is on specific genes related to aggression toward unfamiliar humans and dogs, which are associated with highly relevant genes at two genome regions,” said Carlos Alvarez, PhD, one of the study authors.

“Those genes are consistent with the core fear and aggression neural pathway known as the amygdala to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.”

The most immediate implications are for veterinary behavioral medicine, and genetic testing for risk of specific types of fear and aggression.

Photo credit: © iStock/alexei tm

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