Here's today's feel-good story:
New research from Japan shows that dogs became "man's best friend" due to a gene that lowered their stress and made them more relaxed around people.
Dogs' special relationship with humans began with domestication after descending from wolves.
The gene MC2R has two mutations in dogs, which produces cortisol. Cortisol is the built-in alarm system that gets released during fear and anxiety.
“It may have become necessary through the process of domestication for dogs to gaze at humans for instruction and initiate communication to build a more successful relationship,” said corresponding author Dr. Miho Nagasawa. “Because stray dogs that are not brought up in human households show this characteristic, it has been previously suggested there is a genetic component involved. Our results support this hypothesis.”