Certain dog breeds such as German shepherds and Doberman pinschers are prone to high rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), says a new study. This finding can help scientists identify the genetic variations that may lead to the disorder in people.
Researchers from Harvard University suspected that some of the same genetic mechanisms might underlie compulsions in people, such as repetitive behaviors or intense stress when objects aren't in the right order, Discovery News reported.
Researchers have zeroed in on four genes that are connected to OCD in dogs.
If the same genes turn out to be malfunctioning in the human version of the disorder, it will help scientists develop better drugs for a human disease that is difficult to treat.
Elinor Karlsson, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute at Harvard University, said this is really exciting because psychiatric diseases tend to be very heritable, but finding genes associated with psychiatric diseases in humans has been really difficult.
Instead of repetitive hand washing or hoarding, dogs with OCD may chew blankets or chase their tails way more than normal.