Asked 17th May, 2012

Why are Border Collies so smart?

In a recent documentary by Nova Science Now: how smart are animals? The report stated that researchers studying dog genomes have found a gene that may be responsible for their higher level of intelligence when compared to other dog breeds.
It's called...CTNND2. In humans, this gene is important for normal cognitive development. The Border Collie genome shows selective breeding for this gene. However after an extensive search through the literature, I can find no references to this claim. I would be interested to hear if anyone is researching this field.

Most recent answer

20th Jun, 2013
Lisa Wallis
University of Liverpool
Here is a link to an interesting article which mentions the intelligence of Border Collies in particular.

All Answers (4)

1st Dec, 2012
Barbara Riddy
Vancouver Island Health Authority
Going back to the original source "This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0917517". It appears this is one aspect of a larger project, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). Perhaps a more generic search of canine intelligence would produce greater results?
2nd Dec, 2012
Lisa Wallis
University of Liverpool
Joshua Akey et al published a paper in PNAS a few years ago on
identifying regions of the canine genome that have been substrates of
artificial selection ( CTNND2 was one of the genes (or more accurately, a gene in a broader genomic region) that showed up as having unusually high levels of genetic differentiation between Collies and other breeds.
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