Acta Vet. Brno 2013, 82: 441-445

Genetic background of aggressive behaviour in dogs

Witold Stanisław Proskura1, Anna Frost1, Leonard Gugała2, Andrzej Dybus1, Wilhelm Grzesiak3, Justyna Wawrzyniak1, Sylwia Uchman1

1West Pomeranian University of Technology, Laboratory of Molecular Cytogenetics, Szczecin, Poland
2Small Animal Veterinary Practice, Szczecin, Poland
3West Pomeranian University of Technology, Laboratory of Biostatistics, Szczecin, Poland

The background of aggression is very complicated and the basis of its occurrence has not been well explained yet. It is thought that tendency to aggressiveness is an effect of both environmental and genetic factors. Aggression is a very undesirable behavioural trait in dogs living with humans. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between two polymorphisms: DRD4 intron II VNTR and C/T substitution in exon I HTR2B genes and aggressive behaviour in dogs. The VNTR polymorphism in the DRD4 gene was detected by agarose gel electrophoresis following PCR amplification, whereas C/T substitution in the HTR2B gene was analysed using amplification created restriction site-polymerase chain reaction (ACRS-PCR). A total of 121 dogs of several breeds were analyzed. All animals were classified based on a veterinary interview and observation in two groups: aggressive (n = 21) and non-aggressive (n = 100). Significant differences in DRD4 genotype frequencies between aggressive and non-aggressive dogs were observed (P < 0.05). The study provides a clear evidence of an association of VNTR polymorphism within intron II of the DRD4 gene with the occurrence of aggressive behaviour in dogs. Moreover, the findings give good justification for further research aimed at evaluation of the possibility of using this genetic marker in Marker-assisted Selection.


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