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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.