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As per new research, dogs gained the title of “man’s best friend” because of a gene that reduces stress. According to Japanese researchers, it made dogs in the past more comfortable with people, which allowed the unique bond to grow over time.

Melanocortin 2 receptor was instrumental in dog domestication 

Dogs which are among the most popular pets in the world are descended from wolves. However, evolutionary researchers have been perplexed by the domestication of dogs for many years.

The Japanese researcher now thinks they have found the answer to the puzzle. Dogs have two variations in the MC2R gene (melanocortin two receptor). Whenever anyone feels dread or worry, it secretes a hormone called cortisol, nature’s built-in alerting mechanism. 

Correspondence author and Azabu University’s Dr. Miho Nagasawa stated, “These findings imply MC2R played a role in the domestication of dogs, perhaps by promoting lower levels of stress around humans.”

Dogs and humans have a long and fascinating history

A grey wolf that first came into contact with humans some 33,000 years ago, someplace in Southeast Asia, was the legendary “first best buddy” of man. A small group of domesticated dogs started trotting toward the Middle East and Africa about 15,000 years ago.

Around 10,000 years ago, the Canis lupus familiaris species reached Europe. The construction of walled farmsteads and settlements by humans signaled the beginning of modern civilization. The first pack of dogs was there, helping to maintain watch, herding them, and demanding walks. According to the study, their DNA contains the general outline of this enormous adventure.

Owners of the animals eventually came to love them as much as their families. Dr. Nagasawa and colleagues conducted tests dividing 624 domestic dogs into historical and contemporary (or “generic”) breeds in order to study the occurrence.

Due to the MC2R versions, they discovered the former had a weaker sense of attachment to the tester than the latter.

According to the researcher, the ancient group comprises breeds closer to wolves like the Siberian Husky and Akita, and other breeds like mastiffs in dogs and Jack Russel terriers are distantly related.