Homozygosity for Mobile Element Insertions Associated with Could Predict Success in Assistance Dog Training Programs.

TitleHomozygosity for Mobile Element Insertions Associated with Could Predict Success in Assistance Dog Training Programs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsTandon, D, Ressler, K, Petticord, D, Papa, A, Jiranek, J, Wilkinson, R, Kartzinel, RY, Ostrander, EA, Burney, N, Borden, C, Udell, MAR, vonHoldt, BM
JournalGenes (Basel)
Date Published2019 06 09
KeywordsAnimals, Behavior, Animal, Dogs, Education, Female, Homozygote, Humans, Interspersed Repetitive Sequences, Male, N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases, Phenotype, Wolves

<p>Assistance dog training programs can see as many as 60% of their trainees dismissed. Many training programs utilize behavioral assays prior to admittance to identify likely successful candidates, yet such assays can be insconsistent. Recently, four canine retrotransposon mobile element insertions (MEIs) in or near genes (Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7), (Cfa6.66) and (Cfa6.83) were identified in domestic dogs and gray wolves. Variations in these MEIs were significantly associated with a heightened propensity to initiate prolonged social contact or hypersociability. Using our dataset of 837 dogs, 228 of which had paired survey-based behavioral data, we discovered that one of the insertions in is the most important predictor of dog sociable behaviors related to human proximity, measured by the Canine Behavioral Assessment Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ©). We found a positive correlation between insertions at Cfa6.6 and dog separation distress in the form of restlessness when about to be left alone by the owner. Lastly, assistance dogs showed significant heterozygosity deficiency at locus Cfa6.6 and higher frequency of insertions at Cfa6.6 and Cfa6.7. We suggest that training programs could utilize this genetic survey to screen for MEIs at to identify dogs with sociable traits compatible with successful assistance dog performance.</p>

Alternate JournalGenes (Basel)
PubMed ID31181852
PubMed Central IDPMC6627829
Grant ListN/A / / Intramural Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute /
N/A / / Princeton University /