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Puppy's Trainable Genes

Behavioral traits found among dogs — such as whether they are aggressive or are easy to train — are often shared by breeds with similar genetic backgrounds, Science News reports.

Researchers led by the University of Pennsylvania's James Serpell examined behavioral data that was collected on more than 14,000 dogs from more than 100 different breeds. This, Science News notes, came from the C-BARQ database, which asked the owners of purebred dogs to rate their pooches' fondness for, for instance, chasing and other behaviors

The researchers combined that behavioral data with breed-averaged genotypic data that encompassed more than 100,000 loci. As they reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Serpell and his colleagues uncovered 131 SNPs associated with differences in behavior by breed, many of which were in genes that are expressed in the brain, suggesting they could be functional.

As Science News adds, the researchers also found that genes contribute to between 60 percent and 70 percent of behavioral differences among breeds.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.