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Genetic mapping of canine fear and aggression

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Genomics, August 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#35 of 9,487)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

3 news outlets
1 blog
50 tweeters
20 Facebook pages
1 video uploader


61 Dimensions

Readers on

235 Mendeley
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Genetic mapping of canine fear and aggression
Published in
BMC Genomics, August 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12864-016-2936-3
Pubmed ID

Isain Zapata, James A. Serpell, Carlos E. Alvarez


Fear/anxiety and anger/aggression greatly influence health, quality of life and social interactions. They are a huge burden to wellbeing, and personal and public economics. However, while much is known about the physiology and neuroanatomy of such emotions, little is known about their genetics - most importantly, why some individuals are more susceptible to pathology under stress. We conducted genomewide association (GWA) mapping of breed stereotypes for many fear and aggression traits across several hundred dogs from diverse breeds. We confirmed those findings using GWA in a second cohort of partially overlapping breeds. Lastly, we used the validated loci to create a model that effectively predicted fear and aggression stereotypes in a third group of dog breeds that were not involved in the mapping studies. We found that i) known IGF1 and HMGA2 loci variants for small body size are associated with separation anxiety, touch-sensitivity, owner directed aggression and dog rivalry; and ii) two loci, between GNAT3 and CD36 on chr18, and near IGSF1 on chrX, are associated with several traits, including touch-sensitivity, non-social fear, and fear and aggression that are directed toward unfamiliar dogs and humans. All four genome loci are among the most highly evolutionarily-selected in dogs, and each of those was previously shown to be associated with morphological traits. We propose that the IGF1 and HMGA2 loci are candidates for identical variation being associated with both behavior and morphology. In contrast, we show that the GNAT3-CD36 locus has distinct variants for behavior and morphology. The chrX region is a special case due to its extensive linkage disequilibrium (LD). Our evidence strongly suggests that sociability (which we propose is associated with HS6ST2) and fear/aggression are two distinct GWA loci within this LD block on chrX, but there is almost perfect LD between the peaks for fear/aggression and animal size. We have mapped many canine fear and aggression traits to single haplotypes at the GNAT3-CD36 and IGSF1 loci. CD36 is widely expressed, but areas of the amygdala and hypothalamus are among the brain regions with highest enrichment; and CD36-knockout mice are known to have significantly increased anxiety and aggression. Both of the other genes have very high tissue-specificity and are very abundantly expressed in brain regions that comprise the core anatomy of fear and aggression - the amygdala to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. We propose that reduced-fear variants at these loci may have been involved in the domestication process.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 50 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 235 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Hungary 1 <1%
Unknown 233 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 45 19%
Student > Ph. D. Student 32 14%
Researcher 31 13%
Other 29 12%
Student > Master 24 10%
Other 37 16%
Unknown 37 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 62 26%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 57 24%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 24 10%
Psychology 14 6%
Medicine and Dentistry 12 5%
Other 29 12%
Unknown 37 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 75. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 June 2021.
All research outputs
of 17,956,456 outputs
Outputs from BMC Genomics
of 9,487 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 273,262 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Genomics
of 39 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,956,456 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 9,487 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 273,262 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 39 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.