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I was alerted to an article on Nature.com from a Shiba Inu Forum poster entitled, “Genetics: Pet Project.” It looks at some current projects related to canine genome sequencing that are motivated by problems in canine temperament and behavior. It is also hoped that these types of problems might offer suggestions for new applications to human genetic problems, even if the specific genes don’t map neatly across species.

The whole article’s pretty interesting. Here’s one paragraph that caught my attention:

At the University of Tokyo’s Laboratory of Veterinary Ethology, Yukari Takeuchi has collected DNA samples from 200 Japanese shiba inu and 200 labrador retrievers to look for the genes underlying the former’s aggression and latter’s lapses in concentration. It could help solve a practical problem, she says. Distracted retrievers do not make good guide dogs, and knowing the gene variant responsible could help breeders to limit the trait in their stocks.

This passage is footnoted with a citation to a recent article by Takeuchi et. al which I think could be worth a glimpse, as food for thought.

On a related note, the list of Dog Genome Resources hosted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in Bethesda, Maryland is worth taking a look at as well.