FunNature & AnimalScientists are looking for dogs like yours

Scientists are looking for dogs like yours

The laboratory

The project is called “ Darwin’s ark” and it is a self-financed project with free access to anyone interested in participating, from scientists to individuals.

The project’s researchers say that the involvement of dog guardians is of the utmost importance, because no one knows their dog better than the person who cares for it. Accounts, therefore, with very valuable information for science.

The project

Scientists are looking for people who want to know the genes hidden in their dog’s DNA and are willing to answer a huge questionnaire about the animal’s behavior.

What they want is to understand how the interactions between genes and the environment work in our pets. The ultimate goal is to improve our lives and those of our loyal friends.

dogs look like people

  • We share diseases and behavioral disorders : dogs are very similar to people and can suffer from similar diseases and behavioral disorders. For example, cancer, dementia, anxiety or depression.
  • We share genes: genetically we are not very different either, sharing a large part of our DNA sequence.
  • We share environment: dogs live in our same environment, sharing our lives. However, they have a shorter life cycle, so it is possible to study the evolution of physical or mental pathologies in a shorter period of time, when compared to humans. This, without a doubt, is an advantage for science.

An important reason for this study is the possibility of comparing dogs with humans. In this way, we will get to know our own species better.

Learning about our own biology through the study of other related species is something that science has always done throughout the history of mankind. It was not ethical to study with human beings and unfortunately research was carried out with animals, sometimes using invasive and unethical techniques.

Now things have changed a lot and you can participate in this study in an ethical way, without compromising the well-being of your dog and respecting its biology. And what is even better, without removing it from its environment.

The technique used includes statistical surveys and simple tests for DNA extraction, which can be done at home by the dog’s own guardian.

DNA test at home

When you decide to participate in the study, you will need to extract a DNA sample from your dog that will later be sent to the corresponding laboratory for sequencing.

The extraction is quite simple, and only requires a few milliliters of saliva from the animal, extracted from rubbing the inside of its mouth with a cotton swab.

Results to date

The 8 Personalities of Dogs

The study researchers have detailed and evaluated eight personality traits in dogs, which are the following:

  1. Sociability with people
  2. excitability or reactivity
  3. Attitude towards toys or desire to play
  4. cooperative or independent
  5. Sociability with other dogs
  6. Adaptability and acceptance of new situations, that is, level of frustration
  7. Curiosity about the environment or exploratory level
  8. Search for affection or affection

However, these eight personality traits would barely explain ¼ of the observable behaviors in dogs.

Therefore, it appears that we cannot predict what a dog’s behavior will be like based on its DNA sequence.

The curious thing about the results

When you look at the phenotype or external appearance of your dog, it may seem that it is made up of certain breeds or even that it is a pure breed.

With the DNA test, reality is revealed, which sometimes turns out to be completely different from what you had always believed.

But, aren’t there common personalities or behaviors in dogs of the same breed?

The answer is mostly negative.

It seems that race assures us rather a specific physical appearance. There is such a great variation in the behavior and personality of each individual that it is impossible to designate a specific behavior to an individual for belonging to a specific race.

Although it has been found that some personality traits could be passed on to offspring more easily than others. Despite this, each dog will behave and develop its personality based not only on its genetics, but also on the environment in which it develops.

Therefore, although we can find certain tendencies within a litter of the same breed, each individual is a unique being who deserves to be known and respected individually.

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