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Evidence of large genetic influences on dog ownership in the Swedish Twin Registry has implications for understanding domestication and health associations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular epidemiology. Uppsala University, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2071-5866
Karolinska Inst, Dept Med Epidemiol & Biostat, Stockholm, Sweden.
Univ Liverpool, Dept Archaeol Class & Egyptol, Liverpool, Merseyside, England.
Univ Liverpool, Inst Infect & Global Hlth, Liverpool, Merseyside, England;Univ Liverpool, Inst Vet Sci, Liverpool, Merseyside, England.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0471-2761
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2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 7554Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dogs were the first domesticated animal and, according to the archaeological evidence, have had a close relationship with humans for at least 15,000 years. Today, dogs are common pets in our society and have been linked to increased well-being and improved health outcomes in their owners. A dog in the family during childhood is associated with ownership in adult life. The underlying factors behind this association could be related to experiences or to genetic influences. We aimed to investigate the heritability of dog ownership in a large twin sample including all twins in the Swedish Twin Registry born between 1926 and 1996 and alive in 2006. Information about dog ownership was available from 2001 to 2016 from national dog registers. The final data set included 85,542 twins from 50,507 twin pairs with known zygosity, where information on both twins were available in 35,035 pairs. Structural equation modeling was performed to estimate additive genetic effects (the heritability), common/shared environmental, and unique/non-shared environmental effects. We found that additive genetic factors largely contributed to dog ownership, with heritability estimated at 57% for females and 51% for males. An effect of shared environmental factors was only observed in early adulthood. In conclusion, we show a strong genetic contribution to dog ownership in adulthood in a large twin study. We see two main implications of this finding: (1) genetic variation may have contributed to our ability to domesticate dogs and other animals and (2) potential pleiotropic effects of genetic variation affecting dog ownership should be considered in studies examining health impacts of dog ownership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2019. Vol. 9, article id 7554
National Category
Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-385976DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44083-9ISI: 000468171100049PubMedID: 31101867OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-385976DiVA, id: diva2:1326634
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Heart Lung Foundation
Note

The Swedish Twin Registry is managed by Karolinska Institutet and receives funding through the Swedish Research Council under the grant no 2017-00641.

Available from: 2019-06-18 Created: 2019-06-18 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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