Structural variants in genes associated with human Williams-Beuren syndrome underlie stereotypical hypersociability in domestic dogs.

TitleStructural variants in genes associated with human Williams-Beuren syndrome underlie stereotypical hypersociability in domestic dogs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsvonHoldt, BM, Shuldiner, E, Koch, IJanowitz, Kartzinel, RY, Hogan, A, Brubaker, L, Wanser, S, Stahler, D, Wynne, CDL, Ostrander, EA, Sinsheimer, JS, Udell, MAR
JournalSci Adv
Date Published2017 Jul
KeywordsAnimals, Behavior, Animal, Computational Biology, Dog Diseases, Dogs, Genetic Association Studies, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetic Variation, Humans, Molecular Sequence Annotation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Reproducibility of Results, Social Behavior, Stereotyped Behavior, Williams Syndrome

<p>Although considerable progress has been made in understanding the genetic basis of morphologic traits (for example, body size and coat color) in dogs and wolves, the genetic basis of their behavioral divergence is poorly understood. An integrative approach using both behavioral and genetic data is required to understand the molecular underpinnings of the various behavioral characteristics associated with domestication. We analyze a 5-Mb genomic region on chromosome 6 previously found to be under positive selection in domestic dog breeds. Deletion of this region in humans is linked to Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS), a multisystem congenital disorder characterized by hypersocial behavior. We associate quantitative data on behavioral phenotypes symptomatic of WBS in humans with structural changes in the WBS locus in dogs. We find that hypersociability, a central feature of WBS, is also a core element of domestication that distinguishes dogs from wolves. We provide evidence that structural variants in and , genes previously implicated in the behavioral phenotype of patients with WBS and contained within the WBS locus, contribute to extreme sociability in dogs. This finding suggests that there are commonalities in the genetic architecture of WBS and canine tameness and that directional selection may have targeted a unique set of linked behavioral genes of large phenotypic effect, allowing for rapid behavioral divergence of dogs and wolves, facilitating coexistence with humans.</p>

Alternate JournalSci Adv
PubMed ID28776031
PubMed Central IDPMC5517105
Grant ListR01 GM086887 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States