Do Your Genes Have Anything To Do With You Being A Dog Person?
We’ve all been around those who have identified (or have even identified ourselves) as strict dog or cat people, having no desire/remaining indifferent to having the other species. Even with nurture’s substantial impact on animal preference, primarily supported by what animals we were surrounded with when growing up, there is also supportive evidence for the contrary: nature.
Recent studies have indicated that there is a substantial genetic component to dog ownership. More simply: what we inherit is responsible for why we may be inclined to be dog or cat people. The studies, conducted with identical twins who share 100% of their genetic information at birth, determined that genetics are specifically responsible for 57% of dog ownership in women and 51% in men.
These findings have larger implications than just participating in the longstanding feline versus canine debate. Firstly, they have major weight in allowing us to understand our past. Tove Fall, professor of molecular epidemiology at Uppsala University, explains that these findings can help us in “understanding dog-human interaction throughout history and modern times.” Secondly, these findings are projecting us toward future discoveries. Patrick Magnusson, associate professor of epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, explains that the next steps surround trying “to identify which genetic variants affect this choice [in terms of preference of dogs over cats and vice versa] and how they relate to personality traits and other factors such as allergy.”
So the next time your friends or family members eschew getting a cat or a dog, there may be a genetic explanation!
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