Narrator: This is Science Today. In 2005, scientists completed the dog genome – a detailed map of dog genes. With this wealth of information now available, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have launched the Canine Behavioral Genetics Project. Dr. Steve Hamilton, a psychiatrist and geneticist, says understanding the genetic background of behavioral disorders in dogs would not only help man's best friend – it could help humans, too.
Hamilton : Many behaviors that the dog has, particularly problem behaviors like anxiety and aggression seem to be similar to that that we see in humans. So, we thought that perhaps the dog would be an interesting place to look to see if genes influence these types of behaviors because many of these behaviors when you see them in dogs also respond to the same sorts of treatments that we use in humans, for instance anti-depressants. Our main hope is that we'll be able to learn from the dog information that will also benefit humans, but we hope that it's a two-way street – that the information we have about the human and our genetics and our mental disorders may also inform us about ways to improve the lives of dogs.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.